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About austere

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Western Australia
  • Interests
    Reading nonfiction and speculative fiction, writing songs and my epic novel about a fantasy cult, and living life.
  • More About Me
    I deconverted on 2 November, 2013, from around ten years of belief throughout my entire adolescence. I was raised in a christian family and thus believed because I thought it was true. When I found better evidence, my beliefs' basis on truth kind of backfired.

Previous Fields

  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
    superstitious agnostic

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  1. It's been 5 years and I'm still mad. I do not think i will ever not be mad. Everything in the media, even secular media, tells us you can't ever be happy or move on until you let it go. I think that's a half-truth at best. I think we will always be angry because it is unjust, and good people are unhappy about injustice. Even if you're not good, it is right and a sign of health in your self esteem to say that it wasn't okay to be treated this way. To exploit a vulnerable fellow human and mess with someone's head is not okay, ever. If that is something that happened to you then I think it is right to retain a sense of injustice--and anger naturally follows a sense of injustice. Anger also means we're still hurt, and while we were taught not to be angry, ignoring it, repressing it, or getting upset at ourselves means we are not actually listening to it (ie ourselves) when it tells us not everything is fixed. I was raised with it and it influenced my entire personality. I don't know who I am and it had been very hard to stand up for myself. I have no idea who I would have been had I been raised by well-adjusted people who wanted more than anything to raise a well-adjusted kid. My whole life, my personality, who I am, and my mental and physical health has been compromised by Christianity and the parents who forced it on me. I am reminded of this abuse at least once a day, just by being myself. It's something that is impossible to forget permanently. So i will never not be mad. But i am trying to make it so that this anger and, yes, fear do not define me. I think that is what "healthy" letting go means. You still carry it with you and you never forget what it means, but you do your best to stop letting your anger control what you think and who you talk to, and how you talk to them. You work at making it so that your fear doesn't compel you to pull away from someone without analysing them a bit more first. And you don't just accept that these feelings are there. You analyse them and you say "okay, why am i scared right now and is it relevant to what I'm doing? Is the fear telling me that I'm scared of the situation in front of me, and if so, why? Or is the fear an echo of a different fear? Do i need to deal with that different fear before i can keep going here, or do i acknowledge it and calm myself?" If it is going to be a constant companion, rather than trying to control it or letting it control you, listen to it. It comes from you, it is a part of you, and you are trying to tell yourself something. You just don't know you are allowed to listen.
  2. So you had to make a judgment here by leaning on your own understanding?
  3. I don't think that's weakness, Rachel. Anyone would want that.
  4. Wow, Nature, that's intense--does he also refuse to go to the doctor as a result? Another strategy might be to research why it is "unbiblical".
  5. Hmm, that's interesting. The Secret came out around the time this mentality seemed to take off in my church. I wonder if there were any christian responses to this book that were published a year or so later.
  6. Sounds like prime Rifftrax material.
  7. CBT is enormously helpful, not foolproof but still really really good. After just one session of learning how to do it I got enormous benefits and i highly recommend it to anyone else dealing with anxiety My psych and I are actually looking into whether I have PTSD from all of this, which is categorised as an anxiety disorder too. Yay. I envy you your lessened fear, for me realising i was going to die and that was likely that meant that instead of having an eternity to live, I just get another 75 years or thereabouts. And yeah, after enough bad conversations I had to adopt this approach with friends too. Still sucks when you have to have that conversation all over again though.
  8. Oh my god, that's amazing! Google is giving me nothing unfortunately, just misspellings of Norman's name.
  9. Hardest part... do i have to choose just one? The anxiety I live with, caused by being raised to fear. The inability to trust insitutions or commit to something bigger than myself. Not knowing who I am or what I want anymore. Every month realising a new layer of how fucked up my childhood was as a result of religion and my parents combined. Fearing death including a newfound fear of flying. Realising how controlled and unhappy my family is because of this cancerous religion. Going from being the golden girl of the family to being the black sheep. Reconnecting with an old Christian friend and it going badly in the same ways over and over again. It's getting easier but the first few items on the list still haunt me big-time.
  10. Focus on Jesus, not on people? "He's dead, sweetie, he's not doing much these days..." But I get what you mean. I don't have a good answer for you, @Bookworm . It was my refrain right up until I left. I just want you to know I hear you.
  11. Hey Lost, Wow, I have a lot to say about this. First of all, I know the fear. It's the fear that when you ignore those impulses to go back, to pray, to praise god, that you are 'hardening your heart' and will have only yourself to blame on judgement day. In some sense, you are hardening your heart. You have to, because being in the cult so long has meant people have stomped on it until it is goopy mush. But this doesn't mean you are sinful. What you have to remember is that Christianity operates on its own internal logic. By simply thinking "I'm hardening my heart right now", they have already won because you're using their logic. When they question you or preach to you, they will be coming at you from their inside-the-cult perspective, using their internally consistent logic. You won't be able to debate it because you'll have to work on their assumptions just to have a conversation (eg god is real and is the christian god, jesus gave you a gift, etc). When you work on their assumptions you will naturally sympathise with their logic and their mindset and by their logic, they are right. Bam, you just lost the game. It becomes more possible over time to pick it apart on the fly, but they will consistently derail the conversation and because you are still used to the logic making sense, a newly deconverted person finds it hard not to be swept away by it all over again. Instead, you have to remember that there are all these holes that appear in that logic when you stand outside looking in, evaluating the structure as a whole. Don't get carried away into arguments that are based on assumptions your debating opponent *hasn't actually proved yet*. Such as, "the Bible can be trusted for reasons other than 'God says so'". Any argument made using this premise, without first proving it, is never going to be valid. Find those premises when someone makes an elaborate or personal argument, and ask them to prove it first. Secondly, you actually don't have to argue your own case if you don't want to. You'll feel the need to--but it's your former Christianity defence mechanisms jumping to the fore. When you were a Christian, any non-Christian worldview was a threat to how you made sense of the world, and it had to be destroyed as quickly as possible so you could maintain your peace about how you were right. Now? You can let other worldviews be. People are allowed to believe what they want. You don't have to correct them, the existence of their beliefs no longer threatens your beliefs. You are in a much more chilled out position than they are. Remember that your only point is "I don't find the Christian God convincing". They will ask you what you think is better or more convincing -- "I don't know" is fine. Remember, you're not trying to counter-prove anything, not even atheism. Just cause they get all worked up about their case, doesn't mean you need to match them. They will be assuming that you are coming from another viewpoint that you have to viciously defend in the same way they defend Christianity. When you don't have an opposing viewpoint, they have nothing to cling onto and attack, and it really throws them off! It is perfectly justifiable to become convinced that a theory is invalid because of its own flaws, and then leave it, all without being convinced that a replacement theory is better. You can exist without a theory. If they start to get personal, you don't owe them any kind of answer or explanation. "I'm sorry but that's not relevant to why i left and I don't want to answer it because it's too personal" is fine. They no longer own the rights to hearing all your most intimate struggles and emotions. You get to choose who knows about them. If they think that makes your whole argument invalid then what they think about you cannot be your problem. Thirdly, having said all this, you may find it easier to pick holes in an argument than you think. When you look at people's testimonies with these newfound eyes, you see dozens of other more non-Jesus explanations, including "statistically speaking, coincidences have to happen pretty often!" You may not want to say this to your loved one's face: in this case, a smile and an "I'm glad you derived strength from your faith" will do. Youtube some personal testimonies as practice, it's likely you'll instantly start spotting holes in them. If not, watch some Atheist Experience vids where they debunk callers. Also remember that sometimes things in life are weird or unexplainable and creepy. You're going to have to be comfortable with that because life is like that sometimes. I still have things I can't explain--but it doesn't mean that it was the christian god that did it. There could be a whole world of supernatural ghosts, aliens, vampires, angels and leprechauns out there... but none of that means there has to be a god as well. Finally (I'm so sorry about the length of this) I politely question the need for a formal "coming out". I don't know if that's what you have in mind--but if you do, may I suggest limiting it to those who directly ask? You can often just stop going to church and tell people "you don't have to go to church to be a christian." I also encourage you to think about why you are doing this. You may have felt obligated when you were a Christian to" shine your light" and be a witness to the world--but you don't have to live like that anymore. Away from the cult, which likes to make you obligated to be an open book to aid them in controlling you, can develop a sense of personal privacy and boundaries again. You can hide your light under that bushel for all you're worth now. Nobody has to know unless you want them too. They can be as curious as they like but you don't owe them an unsolicited explanation for anything you do.
  12. Does this mean any 2018 converts don't actually have their conversions kick in until next year?
  13. So woah, i forgot to refresh the page before posting that last comment and a whole lot happened in the meantime! Considering you can make the Bible say whatever you want, unless end has specifically stated somewhere that they are a biblical literalist, we might have to give them this one.
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