Villa Member Oct 28, 2017 212 Dec 27, 2019 #1 Hi Era, I need to get something out there, I don't really know if it will help, but I haven't been able to talk to anybody about this and feel like maybe outside perspectives could help (could be badly mistaken here lol). So I was brought up in a very religious family. It's all I've ever known, and every one of my friends and family members (including my wife) are also part of the religion. But lately I've really been struggling with something. I had doubts ever since I was in my early teens, but just tried to ignore it and pretend those doubts didn't exist and weren't important, probably because I was scared of challenging my world view, but also scared of how it would affect my friends and family. I love my family, I really do, they treat me incredibly well, I had a very loving upbringing, they've always been super supportive of me and have done their best to help me through difficult times. But the thing is, with this religion, if you decide to leave (or if they kick you out) you're cut off from everyone. Zero contact until you decide to return (I believe there's an exception for a wife/husband though, but there's still certain rules for them I think). Even if you tell them that you just don't believe it anymore, that's not really accepted, because everyone thinks it is absolutely 100% the true religion and if you say otherwise, after being a part of the religion, you must be lying and have some ulterior motive/other reason for leaving. (I'm not sure if they officially kick you out for not believing until you 'do something wrong' or properly resign though) I know that must sound crazy and cruel to many here, but unless you've experienced a very strong religious culture, I think it would be very hard to understand. They really truly believe that it's the right thing to do, both for themselves and for the other person, even if it's very difficult. So over the years my doubts about my faith just grew and grew, and I noticed hole after hole, things that just didn't make sense to me. So nowadays I don't really know what I believe. On one hand, the religious ideas I've been exposed to don't really make sense to me, but on the other hand, I find the atheistic/purely scientific view of the world makes me feel super empty and depressed, that my life, everyone else's life and the whole world really, is completely pointless and arbitrary. And this has resulted in, for the past year I've been finding it really difficult trying to hide this from my wife, my friends & family. I've just been going along with the religious way of life that I've lived my whole life (it requires quite a bit of time and effort devoted to it), pretending to everyone that everything is normal, I'm still a true believer, etc. And unless I want to risk losing every single relationship in my life, I don't really feel like I have a choice other than to keep on pretending. I've really been struggling with this though, since 1) kinda living a lie 2) spending a significant amount of time and energy on something I don't believe in anymore, and 3) even just having my own personal struggle with what I believe, and what the point of my life is. I just really don't see any way out of my situation, and probably having a confidential talk with a psychologist would be better than a post on a forum. But I have some time alone, and just want to get some outside perspectives.