While reading another post with a lot of input from atheists, I got me thinking about the subject of the existence of God and wanted to give my personal experience regarding the subject.

I remember that I once tried to imagine what if there really was no God, that it was all a hoax. Being a very spiritual person it was hard to do, almost impossible. However, I feel that the Holy Spirit allowed me a brief glimpse as to what it would be like to have no God. It was for just a few seconds but for that moment, the incredible depth of despair, desolation, and hopelessness was overpowering. I was an all-consuming sense of loss and dread that pounded in my chest that is was as if I had just had a glimpse of Hell. It scared me to such a point that I do not like to think back on that moment to often. Thank “GOD” that he kept a handhold on me so that I did not slip off that precipice.

This is only my personal experience and one person’s point of view, but to have that kind of experience is a life and spiritual affirming realization that there is a greater power than our small existence.


The thought of religion all being a hoax occurs to me sometimes, but the only proof I need are the feelings I get when I recieve the Eucharist or during other intense spiritual experiences.

That is enough to make me pity atheists. Their life is devoid of such experiences and must be filled with the despair that you mention, even if they do not see it themselves.


I agree, after reading the book Jesus of Nazareth by Pope Benedict XVI, chapter three, when I go to mass I am even more acutely aware of the presence of Christ, that is as real and to the level as if He is setting physically there in front of me. Just the same as I am aware of the Priest. It is an irresistible pull. Then I get to participate in the Holy Eucharist, double the blessings.


I have read a lot about atheism lately, and here are a few of my observations:

  1. Most atheists become atheists in their childhood, especially in their puberty.

  2. In spite of their interllectual facade, they general turn away from God for moral rreasons and not intellectual reason.

  3. It is hard for us to imagine this, but when a person becomes an atheist (usually in his adolescense), he experiences and exhilerating feeling. He is free to pursue any of his sexual fantasies without going to Hell. For an atheist, the idea of believing that you stop existing is a whole lot better that believing in the after-life and going to hell. Of course, they if were willing to part with their sinful lifestyles, they could view the after-life more in terms of heaven than hell. But this is what they will not do. So their belief in no God is wish fulfillment.

  4. When they get older, and their libibo starts to subside, they start to realize that one day they will die. This is when they lose the exhilerating feeling of freedom to do whatever ecause there is no God, and start feeling dread. Nietzchie in his early year talked of atheism as a postive feeling, but when he was close to his death he then talked aboutn battling his emptiness and feel of dread. Unforntunately, by this time, most atheist are too proud to admit their mistakes and turn to God.

  5. Atheists brag about how their position is scientic and intellectual but in reality I find their arguments very shallow.


Take a look at this: *your post reminded me of it.
"In the face of the ample and diversified panorama of human fears, the word of God is clear: He who ‘fears’ the Lord is ‘not afraid.’ The fear of God, which the Scriptures define as the ‘beginning of true wisdom,’ coincides with faith in God, with the sacred respect for his authority over life and the world. Being ‘without the fear of God’ is equivalent to putting ourselves in his place, feeling ourselves to be masters of good and evil, of life and death.

“But he who fears God feels interiorly the security of a child in the arms of his mother: He who fears God is calm even in the midst of storms, because God, as Jesus has revealed to us, is a Father who is full of mercy and goodness. He who loves God is not afraid.”

Benedict XVI affirmed that believers are thus “not afraid of anything,” knowing they are “in the hands of God.”


I wonder how many atheists become “Instant Christians” at the moment of their death?


:bigyikes: :eek: :bigyikes: :eek: :bigyikes:

I had just about the exact same experience many years ago.

I was 18 years old. I was praying and worrying about the Lord “leaving me” because I wasn’t “good enough,” and I was praying and asking Him never to leave me. I felt Him say in my heart that He would never leave me, and then I experienced exactly what you described.

I understood that He was allowing me to feel what it was like if I were really separated from Him so I could better understand that He was always with me even if I wasn’t aware of His presence.

I know that the experience only lasted a few seconds, yet there was a timelessness about it. It was a few seconds that felt as though it were an eternity.

If this is what Hell feels like, then I can only say that if there is fire in Hell, it is only the mercy of God which permits it to distract from the pain of separation from Him.


Thanks, it is a truly great feeling to know that one is always held in the hands of God. This Sundays Gospel reading is along these lines. Matthew 10, 26-33

26 "Therefore do not be afraid of them. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known.
27 What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
28 And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge.
30 Even all the hairs of your head are counted.
31 So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
32 Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.
33 But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.


I know even though the experience was a long time ago it is still a vivid memory that is not easy to revisit. thanks for sharing your experience


wow interesting thread… I’d like to share my experiences with atheism/agnosticism.

I used to be an agnostic, and when I look back on this time I see how lost I was… but I didn’t know it back then. My happiness really depended on my situation. If everything was going well, I felt great. If something was wrong, I didn’t know how to deal with that. I turned to some really bad things at those ‘low’ times… I’m ashamed at the sins I committed just to fill that emptiness in me. But I didn’t know there was an emptiness, I had nothing to compare my life to, I thought that was how it was supposed to be…so I didn’t understand that I needed God.

When I became a Christian and found my faith, it was like I had ‘woken up’ from something. Everything was suddenly so clear. It was like I was living in some sort of ‘haze’ before… not sure how to explain. One thing I noticed as I started growing in my relationship with God…is that when I was going through difficulties I now had ways to deal with my feelings. I started turning to God for help, and that taught me about His love and faithfulness to us… and sometimes when He didn’t help in ways that I asked, that helped me learn to trust Him.

One day, I had a similar experience like what you described…
I was struggling with my faith, and suddenly had a thought - what would happen if I left God, if I just turned away from Him… I knew that if I did, that would be a terrible sin, because I would have done so with full knowledge and intent. But there was this curiosity in me, and I felt SOO tempted to try this out… I was scared!! I felt like the devil was very close to snatching me away from God. And then for several seconds, I felt like I had left Him, although I didn’t make the decision - and it was so much like what you described…there was this terrible sense of loss, emptiness, and despair. And I think that God allowed me to feel this way to warn me; because right away I turned away from all my temptations to become an atheist, and started praying very hard… and after some time, I felt safer, but like I had barely escaped from death in a way.

I’m so thankful for God’s grace that He doesn’t let us go that easily and gives us the grace to turn back to Him, if only we want to…


Wow … I had the exact same experience last May; for the same reason and the same exact feelings you describe. I felt terrible for months after that and was severely depressed and thought the feeling of dread and the thought that God might not exist would never leave but, fortunately, during those months of depression I studied many different sources on the proofs for the existance of God and the Catholic religion.


Thanks for sharing, a powerful statement from someone who has been an agnostic/atheist. Its amazing that when God does enter into your life there is no other existence one would want to live. We experienced but a glimpse of that immense depth of despair but thank God that we enjoy an even vastly greater experience through the love God shares with us. I agree that we were allowed to see just a glimpse, but this only serves to reinforce everything He has given to us and has in store for us when we pass from this earth.


I agree with most of these posts, but I just want to say, what if there really was no God? Is that the end of life? Of happiness? How can one say it would be? Many atheists are happy and live morally, they’re not all crazed satan fanatics.

I guess I’m playing devil’s advocate, while I do believe in the Lord, I don’t think it’s dreadfully horrible if He truly doesn’t exist. Just live your life, life would be what one would make it. The world wouldn’t fall apart.

I don’t mean to depress anyone, like I said I obviously believe in God, but do not think the world of all atheists is lonliness and hell.


I don’t know if you’re still about, but I to had a strange experience. I had a very bad habit that was getting in between me and God. I was sitting in a park one day, speaking to God inside my head, and I told him that I was going to leave him for a while because of my temptations. But at the same time I wanted him to save me a space in heaven, for I despaired at the idea of losing God forever. When I was telling God these things, I felt a horrid sense of the devil very close to me. I told God it would only be for a short while. I wasn’t given up belief as such, but I did not want to worry about church, doctrine, confession, and neither did I want to face up to the reality of my sins at that point in time. I was also a very depressed person who, at that stage in my life, just wanted to fit in; be like everyone else.

At that very moment, while telling God about my vacation plans, a scrawny old drunk looking man with a walking stick began speaking to me. I remember sensing a cloud of evil around him.
He said "do you want my walking stick?"
I said "no"
He then said “I Know how you feel. I hate this walking stick, I feel like breaking it sometimes.” He was a very frail looking man, and he obviously needed the stick to walk. He began walking away laughing.

When he left…lets just say my vacation plans went out the window.:smiley:


Quite true, but note that they “live morally” only be adhering to a system of ethics largely if not entirely derived from a Judeo-Christian context whose raison d’etre is God’s revelation in Scripture. The moral atheist’s morality is essentially a religious morality, but divorced of God and Christ Jesus, such a morality makes no sense. IOW, the atheist can live morally, but has no reason for doing so, since even natural law ultimately only makes sense if there is a Divine Lawgiver.

As Dostoevsky observed, without God, all things are permissible.

– Mark L. Chance.

closed #16

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit