Christian Nostalgia

My family and I watched Prince Caspian last night after dinner and I had the strangest feeling near the end when Aslan showed up. I thought to myself, I wish there really was a god. After the movie I mentioned this thought to my wife. She looked at me funny and asked why.
After some thought I came to the conclusion that what I was feeling was nostalgia. I was remembering a time in my life when things had easy answers and I “KNEW” what was going on. I remember my mom reading me The Chronicles of Narnia when I was young. When anything was possible if I really believed.
Now I know that some things are not possible no matter how much we believe. Belief is fine, but it has no bearing on the universe, just our perception of it.

I wonder if I am the only ex-Christian to have this kind of nostalgic feeling?

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26 responses to “Christian Nostalgia

  1. theagnosticswife

    No you are not. Being that I’m so new at being and ex-christian I feel it often. I’ve told the AH several times that I wish there really was a god. And at times I find myself feeling sad that my kids won’t have the same experiences that I did because mine weren’t bad as a child. I struggle at times on what to tell them the holidays mean now that they don’t all revolve around god for me.

  2. It may be simple nostalgia for the fond memories you have of the community you grew up in.

    It may be remembering the fun times we had in youth group, being part of a community like that.

    What if it’s something more?

    What if God is calling you back, telling you to think on the good rather than dwelling on the bad?

    What if God is telling you that those feelings are real, that there is something to all of this?

    I’m just sayin’….

    Nice layout, BTW. I like it.

    jj

  3. Nostalgia is a very powerful force, all by itself, even without God behind it.
    And I think it gets worse when you get older.
    I realized this when I was watching the first Shreck in theaters. In the last scene when the gingerbread guy comes out using a candy cane as a crutch (cause the bad guy crushed one of his legs earlier in the movie) he said, “God bless us everyone.”
    And I wanted to cry, in that stupid theater watching a silly movie.
    Also the fact that I do child advocacy as my day job, my kids all know, anything to do with kids and pets in a movie can bring me to my knees.

    So you are right to be cautious of nostalgia. It can be hard to separate it from what’s really going on.
    But at the same time, with everything else, things aren’t always black and white. Maybe it’s all nostalgia and nothing more. Maybe it’s part nostalgia, part something else.

    I believe in a healthy dose of scepticism. The mind can play tricks. This I know. On the other hand, too much scepticism can choke a lot of joy out of life, making a person negative. An over active gag reflex doesn’t serve a person much better than a gag reflex that doesn’t work at all. How can you take in real sustenance when you won’t take in anything? (this is of course assuming that there might be sustenance to take in.)

    I’m a great believer in pondering rather than making snap judgements. Often, time can help one separate the colors of our multicolored world and understand our multi-level way of relating to the world.

    Clear as mud? ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. This post made me so sad. Maybe I was already having a rough day, I don’t know. It definitely was a bad day, right from the start.

    Nostalgia is wonderful. I think we all feel nostalgia for things we cannot go back to. Well, I guess we can feel nostalgia for all things in the past, but the things we cannot return to we have to rely on our fond memories. For me personally, it doesn’t take a whole lot to set me off on a nostalgic trip through my drug-induced party-past… first cool day of fall, drugs… walking out on my back deck, cigarettes… that kind of thing… that’s the hard kind of nostalgia.

    The sad part of this post to me, though, is what seems like nostalgia for something that is lost forever. Like feeling nostalgia for a long lost friend that lives next door. Maybe the childhood times we cannot recapture, but the friend is still right there, waiting to make new memories. There’s no road we can go down, and no distance traveled, that we cannot return from.

  5. Thank you for all the input! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Wingnut ~ The wife said you would say that. ๐Ÿ™‚

    When I was a teen I got involved in a cult. I will not get into that right now, but when I left the group I missed the fellowship and feelings of belonging. For years I had nostalgic feeling about that time in my life. I also had feelings for anger for being deceived. Were those feelings of nostalgia god telling me to go back to that group because that was where he wanted me?

    Bradley ~ What if the friend you are referring to is an imaginary one? Should we then return to him, or should we understand that childhood is full of magic and adventure that is most of the time make believe?

  6. Is it nostalgia or maybe it is something else? How do you know that feeling is pointing to something greater than you? Could it be that feeling you had was a deeper hunger in your life to be part of a larger story that is being written by someone else like Aslan?

    A couple of observations I’ve had lately…
    We have a hunger for food, and it would be odd if it turned out we were creatures with a hunger for food where there was no such thing as food.

    We have a thirst for water. That doesnโ€™t prove that water exists, but it would be off if we had a thirst for water and we were in a universe where there was no such thing as water.

    We have an appetite for sex. That doesnโ€™t prove that sex exists, but it would be odd if we lived in a universe where there was no such thing as sexual intimacy.

    We have a hunger and thirst for meaning and something beyond ourselves, and maybe part of the reason why we have this is that we were designed for it by someone. That we were designed to be loved and love back by someone like Aslan.

  7. Tim ~ I see you point, but…

    Sometimes your hungers and thirsts are hijacked. For example my dad has a great thirst for alcohol. Was he “made” to have this thirst?

    We are curious and social animals. We have a need to understand the world and a need to be loved. Both of these traits were necessary for our species to survive. I don’t want to get into a biology lesson today….
    The point is this…. It is easy to subvert human needs and apply them to purposes they did not evolve for.
    When I was young I wanted to fly. I mean I REALLY wanted to fly…. Like Superman. I thought to myself, If there isn’t a way for me to fly like Superman , I would not have the desire/need/hunger to. I never did fly, but by your logic I should be able to. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Good thoughts, but here’s a couple things that got me thinking.

    1. Wouldn’t it be weird world if you had a desire to fly and there wasn’t anything in the world that flew?

    2. Like your dad with the drinking, could it be that your spiritual life was hijacked by some messed up people?

  9. Tim ~

    1. Yes, but there is love and family and a need to understand in the world… We see it every day. Do we see any gods running about?

    2. Maybe everybody’s “spiritual” lives were hijacked by messed up people?

  10. And one more thing that’s funny. I was listening to Go Do by Jonsi to when you post came to my email box.

    I’m NOT a coincidences person at all …i just laugh at and enjoy life. I think Jonsi had flying dreams as a kid like you. FLY!

  11. Zeb, Maybe everybody’s “spiritual” lives have been hijacked by messed up by people (i think most are)…and maybe that’s the reason Aslan came to walk around and to set things right?

  12. Tim ~ Or maybe Aslan is just a character in a book that was designed to resemble a character in another book…
    The thing about nostalgia is that it is nothing but a feeling and like all feelings it has very little to do with anything outside of our heads…
    It would great if Aslan was real or if there was a god out there in control. But Aslan is not a real lion and God is not a real god. If it were otherwise life would be more than a series of random events.

    I know you see things differently, and that is fine, but if your god were real and cared about the human race, one would think he would show up every once and awhile. Instead nobody sees him, ever, and prayers are answered randomly. Almost as if nobody is at the helm.
    It seems to me that real things tend to act more… real.

  13. “What if the friend you are referring to is an imaginary one? Should we then return to him…”

    Absolutely! if you so desire… We can willingly subjugate ourselves to any number of things. We can submit to God, religion, friends, family, vanity, ego, despair, you name it. They all have influence in our lives, though WE choose which we worship. If you want to believe in an imaginary friend, but the social conditioning you’ve been immersed in is preventing you from the freedom of your choosing… that’s slavery.

    I face the same thing with my highlife nostalgia. I am totally free to return to my old friend, and friends really. I don’t have to live without that. I choose to, though, because there’s no life in that high. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Resisting an urge to renew a life with your long lost neighbor because of a past, or because of a superiority complex, is just unfortunate. If you want to impress someone… live free.

    I’m all for questioning and realizing we don’t have all the answers, but waiting until you do to make a move seems like a waste of time to me. I mean, we can take polls and conduct massive amounts of research to discover which color is indeed the BEST color… but I don’t care, I like blue. It’s my favorite. One day blue may seem barbaric… but I’ve been enjoying it for quite a few years now.

    , or should we understand that childhood is full of magic and adventure that is most of the time make believe?”

    I

  14. Bradley ~ So you are in slavery because you can’t go back to drugs?

    I think you got cut off at the end… “I” what?

    I am not waiting for all the information to make a move. I am living my life and I am living it on a higher/deeper level now that I am not in bondage to superstitions and mind blocks.

    Maybe I should write a post about what I believe….

  15. Zeb – I can see exactly where you’re coming from. I have thoughts like that and have wondered “why?” and “WTF” so, so many times. Maybe he is just a character in a story or maybe he was a real in the historical person of Jesus. Maybe his plan of walking on the earth when he did and dying for people was wacky or maybe it was love. Maybe he did the one thing he came to do and left us here to the stuff that knew we could do. I know we’d disagree on that one, but I’m enjoying the conversation.

  16. When I was a teen I also believed aliens were visiting my area. There were UFO sightings and everything.
    I saw some of them myself. Sometimes when I watch a sci-fi movie I wish that there really were aliens visiting us because if they were we might get a chance to leave this little world and explore the galaxy.
    Is that wish just a wish or is it the aliens talking to me in my head? Are they saying believe in us again?…
    It sounds crazy when it is about UFOs… Doesn’t it?

  17. Tim ~ I am glad you are enjoying the conversation. Can I ask what it is that you like about it?

  18. “So you are in slavery because you canโ€™t go back to drugs?”

    Yes, I am a slave to Life. I think we’re all slaves to something. I don’t really believe in nirvana. It’s a nice thought, but something always influences us in a decision, even if it’s the mere recognition of life.

    “cut off at the endโ€ฆ โ€œIโ€ what?”

    oops, bad copy and paste… rush rush lunch break ๐Ÿ˜‰

    “I am living my life and I am living it on a higher/deeper level now that I am not in bondage to superstitions and mind blocks.”

    Well, that’s fantastic. You just confuse me when you spew stuff like “superstitions and mind blocks.”

    “Maybe I should write a post about what I believeโ€ฆ.”

    I would love it… I must warn you though… unless it’s 100% scientifically provable with over 4k years of substantiated evidence, I’m just gonna think you believe in toothfairies. ๐Ÿ˜€

  19. I enjoy conversation and…intellectual dialog about worthwhile things, the eb and flow discussing of different spiritual points of view (i don’t like the word debate), trying to understand things from a different perspective, thinking about things deeply, getting to know you (that last one just sounds weird, but you’re intriguing).

    …and it gives me a little break from this message I’m writing on faith myths which I really should get back to so I can enjoy a fun evening out with my wife tonight.

    FLY!

  20. Tim ~ Have fun with the message writing.

  21. Zeb – You have a fantastic day as well. FLY!

  22. Bradley ~ Did you know that if you see the tooth-fairy she will kill you? I saw it in a movie once, so its probably true. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I am sorry that my words are confusing…
    I was speaking from my point of view. That is how I see Christianity. I know you see it differently. You seem to have a unique way of looking at these things and a lot of would you say makes little sense to me. That is the problem with conflicting world views, it is hard to find common ground.

  23. Raising a banner in our unique perspective is a hard thing to resist. I don’t think there’s anything actually wrong with raising a banner, but there will be wars waged around it with casualties on either side.

    If you can learn who or what is the actual enemy, instead of declaring all that is not under your banner as sinister, everyone wins a little more. Much love, zeb.

    I

    …j/k ๐Ÿ˜‰

  24. I know the nostalgia you mean, Zeb. I was part of a church for many years. Once in a while I think of those whom I called friends and wonder if they remember the good times as fondly as I do or if they fall silent when the name “Mr. Atheist” comes up in their individual minds.

    I don’t look back and think longingly of the times I mislead people and lied to people and children about what would happen to them in the afterlife. I don’t look back and think for second… what if I was right and now I am wrong?

    I did recently watch a very old episode of Leave it to Beaver and remembered my old apartment in the inner-city. I remembered Mrs. Washington across the hall from us and her gun-toting children. (She also carried a .38 in her sock). I wanted to go back to that mindset I had that the Cleavers were real. The Bradys were real. The Nelsons were real. Living in the “hood” made these things seem fantastical but within reach. If I could just get out. If I could just turn Mrs. Washington into cat or something other than what she was… What was I saying?

    Oh yes, nostalgia. I think the reason religion has such a strong hold on so many (especially the christians) is just that Nostalgia. But this nostalgia predates them by about 2000 years. Nostalgia is dangerous sometimes. If you do go back and reconnect with that imaginary friend and that imaginary friend’s voice is real to you and that imaginary voice tells you to do something and you do it and it ends up harming those you love or those around you that love you… You would be asked to seek help.

    What was I saying? I hate when this happens. Sorry Zeb. You can delete this comment if you wish. I’d understand.

    Like the new look by the way.

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