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The Effect Religion Had On Me


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I've never really told this story.  I've kept it locked inside, never opening up or letting it out.  Maybe it's time to get it off my chest.  Fair warning, it might get long.

I've had interesting experiences when it comes to religion in my life and I feel like at least some of my problems stem from it.  I'm not going to say religion is bad in general, but I think it has been bad for me.

I was brought up in a religion that was pretty close to being a cult.  We had abnormal views on a lot of things and it kept me from being a normal kid that could fit in with others.  It was pretty much the story of my whole childhood.  We weren't allowed to celebrate normal holidays and we had our own (which were basically Jewish holidays, though we weren't Jewish).  So when all the other kids were painting Easter eggs, or drawing pictures of Santa, I wasn't allowed to do these things.  My parents told the school that I wasn't allowed to participate in those holidays and back then, the political climate was not like it is now.  Nowadays, if you have a different religion, or no religion, it seems like it would be easier to fit in, but back then when people were doing holiday stuff I had to go sit in the hall and wait until they were done.  It made things really hard for me.  I was different and I knew it, though I didn't understand why, and so I never really learned how to socialize from a young age.

In addition to the holiday stuff there was just lists and lists of stuff I couldn't do because the church leaders said it was unacceptable.  There were a lot of tv shows I couldn't watch, music I couldn't listen to, food I couldn't eat.  Basically everything in the world to make me different from the other kids and I just never learned to integrate.

Like a lot of other religions, they were extremely strict on sexual matters and without getting into details, let's just say things were pounded into my head from a young age that I still have not fully been able to come to terms with and I still feel like I am very damaged in this area to this day.  I don't think I will ever fully heal from the things I was taught.

When I was young I was really into the religion.  I believed it 100%.  I also started to get into fantasy books and games (as much as I could without my parents noticing) and because I had spent my life fully believing in angels and gods, when I started reading about fantasy creatures and their gods, I found myself living in a fantasy world completely devoid of reality.  When I read things like Spawn (a comic about a man who made a deal with a demon and took part in a war between demons and angels) part of me believed that stuff was true and I really wanted to take part in stuff like that.

I became obsessed with apocalyptic stories.  I spent so much time thinking about the end of the world and for a long time, the biggest hope I had was that I would live long enough to see the end of the world.  I have to say, looking back now I am ashamed of those thoughts.

After I moved away from my parents, went to school, got on with my life, I spent less and less time thinking about religion.  Eventually, as an adult I must have gone a period of a few years, maybe five, without even thinking about it once.  Then when I thought about it again I didn't know how I felt or what I thought.  I decided to, with an open mind, watch a few debates between Christians and Atheists and see which side made more sense to me.

After this period of examination, which was a few years ago now, I came to the realization that I am now an atheist.  I never decided to be one, I didn't seek it out, I just stopped paying attention and when my attention came back to the topic, I could no longer find any reason to believe.

I still have extremely vivid memories of the times I was in a large group of people with someone preaching.  I can remember clearly how it felt to have such a powerful feeling inside that there was something else there, some spirit within me, but now I put that down to just brain chemistry and group dynamics.  I know first hand how powerfully my brain chemistry can effect me.

So now I am left without any faith, but I still have the damage that was wrought in my psyche from the way I was raised and I don't think I will ever fully heal from the loneliness and otherness I experienced as a child.

Anyways, I hope I didn't offend anyone, but I wanted so say these things that I've thought but never had an outlet to share.  And if anyone made it this far, thanks for reading and I hope you're having a good day whether you believe or don't!

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I can Identify with some of your story... So glad you are away from it now... I was involved with a cult-ish Christian group for about 30 years, since I was 17... I am left with some issues still after all that time... Hard to change a lifetimes way of thinking... I am now an Atheist and started a blog... Here is... *link removed* Best wishes to you my friend... 

Edited by Natasha1
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I am so sorry for all you had to go through from a cult-like form of Christianity, which isn't very Christian at all of those leaders that instilled misinformed values into others.  I am a "liberal" Catholic, but you didn't offend me at all.  When it comes to religion, it is our choice to determine what to follow and if after soul-searching one feels that being agnostic, atheist, or even a completely different religion calls out to him or her, that's acceptable.

However because you have been through the ringer and still have loads of emotionally scarring, you should definitely talk to a professional.  It's crazy to think that things that happen to us as kids still haunt us as adults, but when you've been deeply affected it stays.

I hope you find the peace that you need from all those bad memories.  

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Omg that does not sound Godly at all!! Im so sorry you had go trough thas as a child its clear they did not convey any message of love and compassion to you which goes to show they were doing it all wrong. You didnt say anything offensive at all no worries and that was actually a short and interisting story. I flinched when you said you once wanted to live long enough to see the world end because there was a time I was terrified of doomsday and apocalyptic stuff. Still am but not in the same way. 

Childhood is so important. Because as children we dont know how to express ourselves people think were not aware of our surroundings nor affected but we are. Were molded at a young and stuff like can mess with our development. Im glad you shared your story! I think its something you needed to get off your chest. Sounds like youre doing the best you can yo move on with what happened and thats good. Hope everything is and keeps getting better for you! 

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Thanks everyone so much for your kind words!

On 24/07/2017 at 7:19 PM, Weesue said:

I can Identify with some of your story... So glad you are away from it now... I was involved with a cult-ish Christian group for about 30 years, since I was 17... I am left with some issues still after all that time... Hard to change a lifetimes way of thinking... I am now an Atheist and started a blog... Here is... *link removed* Best wishes to you my friend... 

Thanks, I'm going to check that out when I have a moment, about to head off to work now.

Edited by Natasha1
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The problem with many religious groups is they are led by men and women with distorted interpretations of scripture. They often put the focus on themselves as leaders rather than faith in God. I'm a Catholic who chose the Catholic Church because they follow the ancient practices of the early church in many ways. They teach the scriptures without a lot of distortion. There is plenty of historical and scientific evidence to support the teaching of the Bible. So focus on faith more than the people. Faith in Christ, not the founder of some distorted version of Christianity.

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9 hours ago, Retired said:

The problem with many religious groups is they are led by men and women with distorted interpretations of scripture. They often put the focus on themselves as leaders rather than faith in God. I'm a Catholic who chose the Catholic Church because they follow the ancient practices of the early church in many ways. They teach the scriptures without a lot of distortion. There is plenty of historical and scientific evidence to support the teaching of the Bible. So focus on faith more than the people. Faith in Christ, not the founder of some distorted version of Christianity.

I think that was the opposite of the problem actually.  They were reading the scripture as obsessively literal as they possibly could.

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43 minutes ago, ghost_reborn said:

I think that was the opposite of the problem actually.  They were reading the scripture as obsessively literal as they possibly could.

The scriptures were inspired by God. Literal can still be interpreted in different ways. Just look at all the different ways our constitution is interpreted. That's why I believe in faith and pray for guidance when reading the scriptures. You also have to consider the translation. I know the Catholic New American Bible was heavily scrutinized and much study went into the actual meaning of the words as used back in their time. Many do use their translation to mislead.

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I'm sad you feel this way. I'll pray for you and everyone on this board. God calls for all of us to come to Him. Sadly many don't hear. I'm not going to argue the truth of the scriptures with you or anyone on this board. I have a personal relationship with Christ. Many choose to deny Him. I don't and you couldn't change that. Take care.

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1 hour ago, CoolCat7 said:

I grew up strict Catholic and it really screwed me up.  The emphasis on sin and Hell was particularly damaging.  I still struggle with fear and guilt despite years of therapy.  I was an atheist for years and now basically I'm an agnostic (as defined by T. Huxley who coined the term) who hopes there is a compassionate, loving higher consciousness but does not believe in a Biblical god.  I've done tons of research into the history and origins of the Bible and do not believe in it as a literal text at all.  I'm not even sure Jesus existed and if he did we have no verifiably accurate record of what he actually said and did.  If you want to know more, I can recommend many books.  

I've never heard that definition of agnostic before but I like it.  It's nice.  I'm not sure if I hope there is or not, I'd have to spend some time thinking on it.  To be honest, my initial reaction with only a moment's thought, is that I kind of hope that when I pass away it is the end of me.  If there is a being out there that actually had power comparable to a god, I would wonder why it allows so much suffering.

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On 7/25/2017 at 7:00 PM, CoolCat7 said:

I grew up strict Catholic and it really screwed me up.  The emphasis on sin and Hell was particularly damaging.  I still struggle with fear and guilt despite years of therapy.  I was an atheist for years and now basically I'm an agnostic (as defined by T. Huxley who coined the term) who hopes there is a compassionate, loving higher consciousness but does not believe in a Biblical god.  I've done tons of research into the history and origins of the Bible and do not believe in it as a literal text at all.  I'm not even sure Jesus existed and if he did we have no verifiably accurate record of what he actually said and did.  If you want to know more, I can recommend many books.  

Right they make you feel like your entire existence is a sin 

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On 7/25/2017 at 9:04 PM, CoolCat7 said:

My take on a being that could have created everything in existence is that such a being would have to (or want to) follow certain rules, even if those rules were of its own making.  For instance you can't have light without darkness, life without death, health without sickness, and so on.  I personally don't believe in a being (a "puppet master") who micro-manages our lives and decides that little Johnny Smith will get cancer, or that Jane Doe will miraculously survive a hurricane.  Those things happen due to the function of infinitely intricate systems that were created, or evolved, over millennia.  For a creator to intervene due to such a thing as prayer would be unthinkable.  But I hope that such a being could still feel for us, feel compassion.  

The thing about the universe is it is impossibly vast, complex and... elegant.  Any higher being who created it (or evolved into existence along with it) would have to be so as well.  And wouldn't you think that any works that came from that being would be elegant as well?  The fossil record, as opposed to Genesis perhaps?  An infinitely complex answer rather than a childishly simple one.

Existence is so weird. We are but a grain in this massive black universe just floating in space if you really sit and think about its weird. Existence is fragil and so is evidence. I respect anyone and everyones belief athiest or not 

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3 hours ago, Maryyy said:

Right they make you feel like your entire existence is a sin 

Well, we are all born into a life of sin. Just look at the world around you. But Christ died for our sins, so if you believe in the risen Christ, all sins are forgiven. 

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1 hour ago, Retired said:

Well, we are all born into a life of sin. Just look at the world around you. But Christ died for our sins, so if you believe in the risen Christ, all sins are forgiven. 

The world around me looks like a world that arose from the chaos of nature.  I see no sign that anything was planned or designed.

Being born isn't a sin.  If that is what your religion tells you, that just being born is a crime and you need to pay reparations for some imagined sin from the long-forgotten past (that doesn't even make sense because whatever you can say about other parts of the bible, the Adam and Eve story is clearly not real) then that is a religion designed to prey upon people's weakness and control them.

I may have made mistakes in my life, but I have never sinned because sin isn't real.

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2 minutes ago, ghost_reborn said:

The world around me looks like a world that arose from the chaos of nature.  I see no sign that anything was planned or designed.

Being born isn't a sin.  If that is what your religion tells you, that just being born is a crime and you need to pay reparations for some imagined sin from the long-forgotten past (that doesn't even make sense because whatever you can say about other parts of the bible, the Adam and Eve story is clearly not real) then that is a religion designed to prey upon people's weakness and control them.

I may have made mistakes in my life, but I have never sinned because sin isn't real.

Check out a documentary on Netflix called "Is Genesis History?"

 

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No thanks.  I've seen enough from both sides to have come to a position.

If you have some concrete evidence (which I doubt, because if there was, everyone would have heard of it) then please present it.  But no, I'm not going to go watch a whole documentary.

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Even though I believe in the precepts of both, I am considered what you call an agnostic; I seek the truth and lies in them to come to an understanding. Quasi religious beliefs guide me in a sea of post modernism and personal failure. Be careful playing in the Atheist playground; I've seen some nasty bits of bulls*** and nihilism come from where they ironically proclaim strict rational realism. You appear susceptible to certain negative aspects coming from what you have with the taint of chaos. You want and you receive with out realizing what you're accepting. Of course this invites a flame war and admin spanking for getting heated, but I am here to stir the pan and collect goats periodically [through generally non troll measures] none the less.

Edited by Going_it_Alonne
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IMO, not a single human being has ever communicated with a higher power, which means that everything written about the supernatural, even it's very existence, is guesswork.  Therefore, there is no rational basis for what is commonly called "faith".     

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18 hours ago, Retired said:

Well, we are all born into a life of sin. Just look at the world around you. But Christ died for our sins, so if you believe in the risen Christ, all sins are forgiven. 

You should take a moment to think about how you respond to things because if anything you come off as smug and make people not want to listen to what you say about God especially when you sound like a broken record.

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7 hours ago, Maryyy said:

You should take a moment to think about how you respond to things because if anything you come off as smug and make people not want to listen to what you say about God especially when you sound like a broken record.

She didn't come off being smug. This is a topic some don't want to hear as in your example, so they try to put down the messenger, as you tried to do. She does speak the truth. Those who don't want to hear it have a choice to ignore it. Some have questions to ask. Some are fearful of the truth. 

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5 hours ago, Retired said:

She didn't come off being smug. This is a topic some don't want to hear as in your example, so they try to put down the messenger, as you tried to do. She does speak the truth. Those who don't want to hear it have a choice to ignore it. Some have questions to ask. Some are fearful of the truth. 

There you going sounding smug again. Who is " she" I was referring to you unless you like talking in third person. This is obviously a topic I dont mind talking about. The problem is people like you cant have a conversation since you claim to know the truth and you believe that your side is the only truth one. Seems like youre the one whos afraid and hiding from the truth. Too afraid to see the flaws in religion and the disgusting things some people do in the name of God. YOU replied to MY comment not the other way around so im not shuting down any messangers. If someone is telling you pass traumas they had and issues how they fear and made to feel like they were sin and your response is that we are sin and the only way out os believing in Christ is not a damn good anwser but a disrespectful one. But I guess not everyone is ready to accept everyone and their truths.

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2 minutes ago, Maryyy said:

There you going sounding smug again. Who is " she" I was referring to you unless you like talking in third person. This is obviously a topic I dont mind talking about. The problem is people like you cant have a conversation since you claim to know the truth and you believe that your side is the only truth one. Seems like youre the one whos afraid and hiding from the truth. Too afraid to see the flaws in religion and the disgusting things some people do in the name of God. YOU replied to MY comment not the other way around so im not shuting down any messangers. If someone is telling you pass traumas they had and issues how they fear and made to feel like they were sin and your response is that we are sin and the only way out os believing in Christ is not a damn good anwser but a disrespectful one. But I guess not everyone is ready to accept everyone and their truths.

I agree there are flaws in "religion" because humans are imperfect. All of us. 

But Christ is the Son of God and died for our sins. Whoever believes in Him will see salvation. Humans are flawed and with free will has made a mess of this world. But those who believe are looking beyond this world and look forward to the Kingdom of God because our sins are forgiven.

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3 hours ago, Retired said:

I agree there are flaws in "religion" because humans are imperfect. All of us. 

But Christ is the Son of God and died for our sins. Whoever believes in Him will see salvation. Humans are flawed and with free will has made a mess of this world. But those who believe are looking beyond this world and look forward to the Kingdom of God because our sins are forgiven.

Thanks, I'm so tired of hearing you repeat this nonsense I am now no longer going to be checking my own thread that I started as a way to talk about my issues.  Thanks so much for chasing me off my own thread... isn't there supposed to be a no proselytization rule here?

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