Don't grieve alone; 14,000 members and growing
Losing a loved one has forced me to reconsider some of my religious beliefs. I grew up in the Catholic Church. I attended Sunday School, and sometimes Mass. I stopped just shortly before my confirmation. I was about 13 years old, I had developed severe depression, and I didn't agree with the politics of the Catholic church. I looked at the bible very literally, and I didn't understand how it fit in with today's society. I was more interested in science, and I didn't see how God could exist. He had always been taught to me as like, this big shiny bearded guy in the clouds, and I didn't want to worship that. So, I became an atheist.
I started having substance abuse problems in my later teen years, and I tried 12 step meetings. I started to be more open to spirituality, and so I probably considered myself like, agnostic.
Anyways, in 2011, I accepted Christ. I was incarcerated and I attended bible study. I think that the bible studies I attended were more geared towards incarcerated people, and they promoted the idea that we are ALL sinners. No one is free of sin. Because of this, God sacrificed his only son, so that we can be saved by just believing that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, and repenting for our sins. We all fall short in the eyes of God. Jesus really seemed to be like, in favor of the underdog. He said rich people can't get into heaven. and the beatitudes, blessed are the poor... and that attracted me to Christianity. These messages were not taught in the Catholic Church, in the wealthy neighborhood I grew up in. It would have been alienating to all of the rich people in the congregation.
Having it explained to me like this helped my understanding of Christianity. I had a lot more free time to read, and I spent a lot of time actually reading the bible. The bible has a lot of good stories in it, which teach lessons, basically. It was written a long time ago, so a lot of parts are not going to apply to us in the modern day, but the lesson the story teaches is still there. Sometimes, it is hard to understand the meaning or the lesson.
Sometimes, I could literally feel the holy spirit inside me. I really felt the presence of the Lord. I saw every day that I woke up as a blessing (although sometimes it was hard), after all of the times I could have lost my life.
I also started attending Baptist churches, and more "black" churches. People seemed so much more enthusiastic about the Lord. I liked seeing the congregation, singing and clapping, and praising the Lord. I had never been around this growing up. I had never really seen anyone get excited about God at church. I did feel like, the Baptist church made a much bigger emphasis in tithing, but I understood why, because their church was in disrepair and they could have used the money.
So I definitely consider myself a Christian. I'm not conservative though. I am Pro choice, I favor decriminalization of drugs and prostitution. I support gay marriage. But I can separate my religion from my political views.
However, my friend, who recently passed away, was not a Christian. I think that the trouble he struggled with in the year or so before his death, made him more accepting of the notion of a higher power, but I don't think that he believed in Jesus being the son of God. I see posts on here, and other sites all the time, about people can't wait to be reunited with their deceased loved one. And, I feel like, am I going to go to heaven and he just won't be there?
If accepting Christ is necessary for salvation, than my brother and boyfriend will not be in heaven either. My boyfriend is a pretty serious Muslim, although he grew up Christian, and I hope that he will accept Christ. My brother is an Atheist, and I also hope that he will accept Christ. Unfortunately, it is too late for my best friend. I never really worried about it, because none of them had died yet, but now it is a big concern.
This has caused me to think that my heaven would not be very happy, since I would be eternally separated from my loved ones. I also have been told that a deceased loved one was full of joy in heaven, but I question why they would be full of joy, knowing that their loved ones are absolutely devastated, especially in an unexpected death. I think if my best friend was watching this, he would be really upset that he couldn't do anything to save us from our sorrow.
It's hard for me to think about my loved one either just being dead and non existent, or even worse, that he could be burning in the flames of hell for not believing in Jesus. And, the fact is that some people believe that.
I have even looked at alternate types of spirituality, such as reincarnation, or like other dimensions, and ghosts and spirits and stuff. Stuff that didn't require any specific belief to have a good afterlife. And, I think that some of that stuff may be possible too, in addition to Christianity, because people really can't know where we go when we die.
Also, of course, losing a loved one has shaken my faith in God. Like, I'm angry that he let this happen. Was this part of his plan? I just don't feel like praising God right now.
Of course, I don't want to risk my salvation. I am praying for faith, and for answers. But it is just hard, not being able to think that I will be reunited with my loved one at some point. It was one of my first concerns when I found out he had passed away. I have tried praying for his soul, I hope it helps. I miss my friend so much.