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About Heimir

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    Triathlon, climbing, acrobatics, philosophy, science, entrepreneurship
  • More About Me
    I am here to heal from my christian past and to become happy as a human being.

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

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  1. Thanks @ThereAndBackAgain and @disillusioned, I appreciate your kind words! I don't plan to go away from here any time soon, nor give up on my process of dealing with my christian past and growing as a person.
  2. Hi all! This topic is about healing, but I didn't describe the damage of religion in my life in any detail. So, I thought it was interesting to write out how my christian life (between ages 0 and 25) has affected me and how I developed: 1. I have been terrified of hell since I was a kid. Personally, I never knew for sure that I was saved, because of my church (see 2), and I feared the eternal torment that may be waiting for me, my friends, my family and just everyone I encountered. This made me very tense and serious, which are not qualities that I think are the natural me. I see people being fun and relaxed, and I see that I have that in me too, but I often fall back into serious conversation, which is something I'd like to change. I think it is because I never felt really safe and at peace, because doom was waiting for me, and if not for me, then for the people I loved. 2. I was always looking for the "real faith", for the radical, true way of believing (and subsequently, living). My (slightly cultish) church was also like this, and so where my parents (especially my father). Especially because of the fear of hell I describe above. I have been baptised when I was 12 (our church only does 'adult' baptising) but I remember waiting many years for that, because I really wanted to be saved and have confirmation that I was. This same mindset still makes me be very reflective and serious in how I approach life, like I describe above. Now I think it's better to look for my way of living, by (by my own standards) being good for myself and the people I love and by exploring what gives my life meaning in a personal sense (not an absolute/objective one). 3. I have been taught the idea of sin, which always made me very conscious. I asked for forgiveness a lot, part due to my fear of hell. I tried to live perfectly. Now I am no longer striving to live a sinless life, but to live honestly and boldly (striving to live in a way that is good for me and the world, but allowing myself to make mistakes). 4. I have never had sex, and I have been taught all sorts of garbage around this. Been pretty close recently - sleeping and kuddling without clothes together, which was awesome in a way but I was incredibly tense and this was what caused our relationship to end. It was good though that I faced this fear and it this is one of the main reasons that I am going to a therapist. You know, it may sound strange to say about myself, but I am a good looking guy, athletic, intelligent, more and more successful and social, and I get more and more attention from girls (this week a pretty italian girl asked my telephone number, another girl wants to travel with me...), so it's really strange to be a virgin. It feels like this area of my life is forbidden, I just get blocked when I go there. I think I can overcome it, but it will take a patient girl. And some therapy. 5. I have been taught that there are two groups of people: christians and non-christians. Non-christians can still can themselves christians (see 2), and they are probably going to hell (see 1). Christians are the good guys (though still sinful and worthless), we hope to go to heaven together. Better hang out with them, because you don't want 'worldly influences' that corrupt you. That way of thinking now is very fucked up, it is very closed minded because you see the world as just dangerous. Now I love learning about how other people live, listening to their stories without judgement. I often feel very naive, like I am discovering the world right now. But on the other hand it's an exciting journey, I love it when I see something in someone that is unique about that person and that I can admire. And sometimes I don't like something, and in a way I also like that, because in this way I develop my own ideas about what a good and interesting life is for me. 6. Science and religion - I have always been interested in nature, and I think I'd been a biologist or something without christianity, and I actually ended up pretty close so that's good (and still could become one), but my progress has been severely sabotaged by how christianity confused the whole creation and evolution thing. I am glad that I now can be interested in science in an open way (still critical, but that's how you should be, but a young earth is not a viable hypothesis), just like I like to approach people now. That's it for now, I am sure that I could write more. Glad that I am no longer being fed such fucked up ideas and that these have been eroding a way for the last 5 years, some faster than other though, but now that I am in therapy, writing about this and willing to experiment more I am sure that I can accelerate this process. Thanks for reading!
  3. So, I think I already have a nice list of things that I can do there. I look forward to experiment a little bit with who I want to be, being so far away from home. I think that we often get stuck in certain roles or modes of being in life, not just due to our personality but also because of how we've been brought up. I do like some of what I've become, but I don't like many things as well, and I blame the Christian influences for that, combined with some other influences and some poor choices on my part. Yes, I don't like to blame others for everything, I think it's good to take responsibility. I even see it as my responsibility to become the best version of myself and I will have to do all the work. I have already started on this journey and it's very good. I have told my mother and two siblings that I am going to a therapist and that healing from my past and becoming a stronger person are my objectives. I have told all of them that I will not tell them a lot, that it's private. Usually I am an extremely open person, but I don't want other meddling in my process, not even if they want the best for me, because they still perceive things through their lense. So, I have already taken a bit of distance from them. During my trip I will go even farther and disappear from the world completely. I just let my family know that I won't be reachable by phone or email for 2.5 week, only in case of emergencies (on a local number). I told them that I will tell them the stories and show them pictures if they are interested. So, I've created a lot of freedom to change who I am and just to live my own life. I am interested where this path will lead.
  4. Yeah, exactly, that is what people often assume. But it's quite the opposite: I genuinely care about people and I feel extremely bad when I meet someone who is a devout and fanatic christian. Having been there myself, I know how one gets wounded by hearing over and over again since early childhood that (s)he is sinful and evil, that only through god's grace can one be saved from an eternal torment. I know how one feels one needs to save the world. I wish people could experience the world in an open way. Yes, and make it a bit better for everyone, but not as an outsider, but as someone who just loves life. That they can love and accept themselves and others for who they are, not because they are commanded to. Christianity is full of good ideas, but the bad ones poison everything. I see so many people wasting their lives because of it, and it just fills me with sadness. What is especially frustrating is that there is so little that I can do. Not that it's impossible to convince them, that is an issue in many cases (people in general don't change their mind easily, especially not when they have been indoctrinated for decades) but not the main one for me, no, I know that leaving christianity is an awful experience and I am not sure that I wish that on other people. I have played a role in the deconversion of several people, never in a very aggressive and direct way, but still I have had my influence, and it has not always led to the best results, despite me trying to be a supportive and positive friend. One person even had to be admitted in a closed home due to psychological issues. He got out but is still recovering, I hope he will do great, but all this experience has taught me that it's often better to let people be ignorant, so that they can at least be relatively happy. Unless they are causing suffering for others, then they can expect me to give them a hard time. A challenge is when you see people who are in their twenties or early thirties and who make a lot of life decisions based on their strict faith, and you just see all the signs of an unhappy and unsuccessful life developing in front of your eyes. They can be happy now, but they postpone careers due to missionary work, sometimes endlessly until they are way behind, or unable to ever get started. They don't work on their confidence or psychological issues, but instead look for god all of the time to help them. They are extremely friendly and open all the time, but you see them struggling with all kinds of frustrations. Yeah, that person has been me. That is why it frustrates me so much I guess. This was not the direction I wanted to take this post in, but I understand myself a bit better now. Fortunately, I made it out 5 years ago and that was on time to get my life in order before I have wasted everything. But around me I see some people who are still christian and I fear that it's too late for some of them. I do wish them the best, even in their ignorance.
  5. Thanks, that's good to hear! I will be patient. I am prepared to be in therapy for as long as it takes, and I expect that afterwards it will still go on. Good to know that you have made such progress, that gives me hope! Yes, I do feel much safer now. I have a nice place to live, I have a good job (so I can afford a therapist), I am completely independent from my parents and have a good network of friends. I can afford to face this now. This forum is also great, it's good to write my thoughts and questions down and to read what you all write, and I find it inspiring. A post such as yours really helps me, so thanks for taking the time to write it! I am going pretty far outside of my comfort zone right now, once I see that something is important I can be quite bold and push myself there. But the challenge then is to create a 'habitable order' in the chaos that I confront, to use Jordan Peterson's words, meaning that I find it challenging to actually become comfortable and confident with a new mode of acting. I am the warrior type, always willing to fight for what's good, but never finding rest. My new innovation is actually to carry a comfortable shell to retreat in every now and then! By this I mean that I am learning to take my own needs seriously, and to love and respect myself. Even after 5 years I now discovered that I still viewed myself as worthless and bad, and that my role was to save the world and to make other people's lives better. I am so happy that I let go of that. Perhaps the fighting mode was my comfort zone. I was being busy all the time, which prevented me from feeling and thinking about all of this mess inside of me. Now (thanks to my ex-date; to be honest I am quite grateful for it, even though it is hard) Pandora's box has been opened, all of this mess is out and I no longer can pretend like nothing is wrong. Confronting this is quite painful. I try not to approach this with my warrior mindset, but more in a calm way. It's strange territory to be in, for sure.
  6. Well, I can be short and brief. I have no idea! I see no proof of extraterrestrials, gods, spirits, or any of the other usual suspects that may possess 'higher consciousness'. Therefore, I do not believe it. You see people believing in all sorts of strange beings for the reason that they 'feel' like these exist, or that they have had an 'experience'. Therefore, this is not an argument for me. Apparently the human brain can produce a broad range of emotional and mental phenomena and people are easily fooled to believe that these experiences must be related to the religion they happened to belong to.
  7. You know I just want to say that I find it fascinating to see people still believe and argue for the same strange points that I used to argue for. I don't mean this to offend, but it really sends the shivers down my spine when I encounter people like this. In a way I want to save them from their ignorance, I really feel it's sad to see people like this, on the other I really dislike wasting any more time on religion and I want to focus my energies on building my character and a beautiful life, which has already been delayed long enough because of me spending a lot of time and energy on this imaginary scheme that I have been manipulated into as an innocent kid. I don't know why I wrote this. Just saying that I respect anyone who is willing to spend time discussing these things, I don't have the patience anymore, it's too sensitive for me. And I also love my religious fellow humans. And I understand you, having been there. I hope many make it out, but I prefer that you are happy and good people, which has little to do with religion.
  8. I was always aware that there was no way that what I call the voice of god could easily be also my own inner voice and feelings. The human mind is very interesting and complex, and there are so many things that come out of it. I like to think of my mind containing several sub-personalities, some of which I like, some of which I don't. There is the self-critic, the perfectionist, the smoking addict (I quit but sometimes this one still gets triggered), the (over)enthusiast, the systematic thinker, the social person, the child, etc. All of these are not activated at the same time, but several can be and they interact with each other. We are constantly weighing different options, some of which stimulate one mode of being, and some of which another one. God is just another subpersonality on that long list, one that it's own needs, filled in by what we are taught in our upbringing and christian groups. Add to this that in social groups, we tend to easily get emotional and that this is actively manipulated in churches. We long to belong to a bigger group, we long to be accepted, to feel secure, to work together, and all of this can get triggered in a service. It's very easy to think that all of the thoughts and feelings that you get in such an elevated state are coming from god. I wanted to hear god, sure. But there is just no way to tell for sure. We don't know where our thoughts originate, not even our own ones. How then can we call some of these gods voice?
  9. I will spend 2.5 weeks in Mozambique to relax. I want to have a meaningful time there, just for fun, but I also want to work on my inner person, as I notice that there is a lot of turbulence inside of me, for several reasons, one big one being my christian past that is haunting me and that I'd like to let go and heal from (as I wrote in another topic). I'm already doing that right now, and I am making progress almost every day, but I think this time is particulary good time to process some of that. Not only that, I find that I have been fighting to make something of my life since I left my faith, so I am also interested in exploring other aspects of myself and doing some creative stuff. Ironically, I will stay at the guest house of two friends who are living there for 2 years, working for a missionary organization. They call themselves christians, but they have seen my entire process, from being christian, to doubting more and more, to leaving and starting recovering, and they have always supported me and never argued with me about anything, so they are very open minded and just good people. So, with all of these goals in mind, I came up with this list of activities: - Journaling - Self-authoring *1 - Do homework for my psychologist (no idea what that will be) - Meditate - Take walks in town and in nature - Do some sightseeing/safari (preferably not one by car, but walking or cycling) - Go mountain climbing - Exercise (once or twice per day) - Take pictures with my camera (in nature) - Relax with my friends - Sleep a lot - Cook - Drawing things - Make music (if I can find an instrument) - Learn portuguese and some words in the local language (both just for fun) - Read a lot (leaving the fold is one of these, but I may read 5-10 books) - Not do anything productive - Make as little plans as possible (this list is an idea list, not a to-do list) - If possible: don't use my laptop or phone. Don't check email or use the internet in any way. What do you think? How can I make this retreat as helpful and relaxing as possible? I don't have to return fully healed of my christian past (that's unrealistic), but I feel like I can have a pretty transformative time. Of course I can't force that, but I am looking for ways to facilitate this. Having written this, I should ask my therapist, she definitely has something to say (she already joked that she could give me loads of homework to do... haha, it's interesting how after one session she already seems to understand that I am quite a fanatic type - but well my #1goal is to take it easy). Thanks in advance! *1 - write about your past/future/present and "sort yourself out" in that way, by Jordan Peterson and colleagues. To be clear, I don't agree with him on everything (I agree with no one on everything), but I find a lot of his works helpful and inspiring
  10. Just had a shower, and there I had a new insight, felt like a spiritual experience (does god talk to us through the shower - well yes, evidenced by this experience and all the inspiration that people get from showers!!), seriously. I felt a strong love for my friends and a deep longing to get to know them better. I mean stopping all this talk about my own problems and trying to get accountability or help from them was one difficult step (at least for a while), but I am making progress in that, but then the next question is 'what do you talk about then'?. Well, obviously, many things, and I felt excited while thinking about this under the shower. I can ask about their past. What they enjoyed to do as kids. What their family life was like. What their favorite topics or teachers in high school were, and if there were some particularly funny moments. Their dating blunders and their good dates. The holidays that they've been on. And so many other things of their past that are enjoyable or meaningful to talk about. I can talk with them about their dreams for the future. What's on their bucket lists. Where do they want to travel. What cars do they want to drive. What kind of house. And about their present. What they enjoyed about today. And of course we can tell jokes. Anyways, I was filled with a love for my friends and a desire to see them happy, in general, and while interacting with me, and I feel inspired to play that role (in an authentic way). This is quite a new feeling for me, which is why I write it down and share it. Until now I felt very strongly that friendship and caring for my friends meant sharing our struggles with each other and being there for each other in tough times, but I was in that overly serious mode for 80% of the time, which is too much, especially for a life that is actually not that bad. Now I don't just *know* that I should talk less about my or their problems and challenges, I *feel* negative about doing that, and not only that, I also know what I should instead and I feel very good about that. It feels like a breakthrough, but let's see if it actually translates into account tomorrow and in the coming weeks. Feeling like I am becoming a new Heimir!
  11. Thanks Eugene! Yeah, glad that fear of hell phase is over (for both of us). For some it lasts for the rest of their lives, so I am grateful that that is not the case for me. Thanks for reading it even twice, I appreciate that ;). I feel like things are moving in the right direction now. The problems are very visible for me now, and I also am starting to get a vision of what I want my life to be like (in part), and the therapist will help me bridge that gap and further find out what I want my life to be like. Good that you remind me that it won't happen overnight, I am prepared to be in therapy as long as it takes. I just ordered that book today, such a coincidence! Can't wait to start reading! Thanks again for the warm welcome, I look forward to reading from you as well! I didn't know what a sex surrogate was. Now I know, I think it's not for me but I do think it's cool that it exists, I understand the need for such a profession. I hope to find someone who is patient with me in bed, and I believe that I am a quick learner, and that I can provide some motivation for their patience. I am athletic, in the best shape of my life! I am already one of the best rock climbers in my group (if not the best soon) and I am becoming a top ten percent triathlete, perhaps soon a national champion in one related discipline. I mean many people call their bodies athletic, I guess I just wanted to state that I am not using that term lightly (and that I am an arrogant bragster! :P). That is great advice, I will take that to heart. I will do what you say 80% of the time. For 20% of the time I will allow myself to explore my past and heal, it does bring me a lot of good now. But I won't let myself dwell in it. And I won't let it dominate my conversations with people, I am even getting to a point where I think I will just talk with it with my therapist and with my diary. If a friend asks (I have told a lot of the process that I am in), I will just tell them that I am making progress and that I am learning to enjoy my life. Perhaps I will tell them something positive that has changed. That is all, unless I really find an obstacle that I find hard to cross or if I really need some input from somebody, but that should be very clear. I notice that in 95% of the time I talk about it just to get attention or because I just can't help myself (it occupies my mind). I don't like that conclusion, but it's true. Therefore this new rule to limit that. Talking is useful, but what I really need to learn now is to manage my (negative) emotions by myself, shut up with all this serious talk (because it becomes a self fulfilling prophesy) and to have a lot more fun! Thanks for this great post! It was what I needed! Great to read that Geezer! I know many of those people, and they have helped me as well. You know I am pretty thankful for people like this who take time to argue against religion in sophisticated and systematic ways!
  12. Thanks and nice to meet you! I think I did my best. I was taught (or rather, manipulated into believing) that Christianity was the truth and this was reinforced over and over again, it's no wonder that I gave it the benefit of the doubt. Now my starting position is not believing, I need evidence in order to believe a claim. That is very freeing! Good to be part of this company! That is a great lesson, I am glad to have let go of that as well. It has to further sink in, but I notice that the healing process is really happening now that I am paying attention to this. How do I notice? Well, I notice that where it was logical for me to be harsh towards myself (which I assume often comes from my christian past) I am more and more understanding and friendly to myself. Ok, these are turbulent times and it's not all easy, but there are a lot of signs of hope. For example I am taking better care of myself and view this as an act of self-love. Until recently I was doing this quite badly and I was running around solving other people's problems (to the point of doing dozens of hours of unpaid work and volunteer work). I find that silly now, even unhealthy and I don't wish this towards myself. All of this change is happening in the span of weeks! Though I do fall back into self-hatred and despair a few times per week (actually multiple times on most days), I also manage to get out and steer things in a positive direction. The most clear sign of hope: I find myself getting angry when I think or notice that I don't respect myself, or when I think of times that I didn't. I feel like I wronged that person. I am even inclined to be respectful of myself in the past, even with my many faults and weaknesses, because I know that I have always tried. And at the same time, I get excited when I notice that I am taking good care of myself, it really fills me with joy! *This self-love is something that I have never experienced in my life*, I am dead serious about that!! To see such changes happening makes me feel very hopeful for what else is possible! Thanks, nice to meet you too and I look forward to exploring this place further and learning from all of you! Glad I made it out indeed! I hope that we grow out of such abusing practices as a species. Perhaps I am too hopeful. But at least people can make it out. Good to know! I am like a sponge, ready to suck myself full with ungodly wisdom!
  13. I am Heimir, in my early thirties and I have left christianity almost 5 years ago. My life was a mess until that point, even though I tried hard to get my act together, I couldn't, and religion was the most important factor in that. Some people can function well with religion, and I guess that's great, but the idea of hell was clear to me from when I was very young and due to my personality I am very caring and trusting, which made this a very difficult idea to live with, because all my friends would go to hell. It wasn't until I stopped giving christianity the benefit of the doubt that I managed to let go of it. It's been quite the ride since. It still took a bit of trial and error, but I did manage to make good progress in many areas of my life. However, now I find myself wondering why I did all of it. I have focussed on getting my external life together (which was a mess), but my internal life did not get a lot of attention. I am here to write about that, so that I can transform the dysfunctional thinking and behavior patterns into ones that work, and let go of the dark memories. Right now what I describe above is what I feel I am now, but here's a more positive introduction (that is true as well - and hopefully after I have gone through the healing process it's one that I can actually identify with). I am Heimir, in my early thirties. I enjoy rock climbing, triathlon, ice skating. I am a consultant and starting out as an entrepreneur. I am a very creative person who loves being with people. I live on a beautiful farm near a city, where I can enjoy the quietness of my farm as well as all the excitement opportunities and activities the city has to offer.
  14. I remember frequently being afraid of hell, never knowing whether I really was saved and trying desperately to find out whether christianity was true. I remember struggling with evolution, which in my opinion was hard to combine with christianity, but I was also always interested in nature and could have become an ecologist or biologist (perhaps I will one day, I mean I am in my early thirties, plenty of time ahead of me). I remember going to a more fundamentalist and sectarian church, which was warm in a way, but also very serious about finding the true religion, and teaching this to the children as well. And so this fear of hell that I mentioned was transfered to me when I was as young as five and it stayed with me for the next 20 years. My life was going down the drain until five years ago, when I left. My studies was going very badly, and I only managed to finish my BSc after 10 years. Leaving religion was a very important step in that, which I did when I was 8 years in. It allowed me to rediscover life and myself, and to see things more lightly. It's been 5 years now that I left faith. I no longer believe in any gods, heaven, hell, or anything. I do not fear death. I am very happy that a lot healed. However, I had a lot of catching up to do - learning about secular ethics and morality (no longer basing my idea of what's 'good' in religion), science (how the world really works), social things (how people can have different ideas, cultures, sexuality, etc and how I can respond to that), etc. And of course I had my career to build after a long time of trouble. I am happy to say that went well, but the last 5 years was a constant battle. Now I feel disillusioned and I am not sure what I have been fighting for. I mean I have been trying to grow out of the damage caused by religion (and some bad choices on my part - I am not blaming everything on religion), but I see how I have actually been evading a lot of difficult emotion inside of me. I did not have sex yet (in my early thirties now), or a long relation for that matter, because I feel uncomfortable with the idea of sex (though I am good looking and extremely athletic, I do rock climbing and triathlons), though I really want it as well. I also find it hard to imagine that someone would want someone in her life with such a messy history. I see myself fully filling all my time and all my silent moments, so that I do not have to deal with all the difficult thoughts and emotions that come. I hardly ever cry, but I really want to. I am very focussed on solving problems, my own and others, but not because I care but because I feel obliged. I have dated with a girl for a few weeks and though it started beautifully, it quickly became a disaster, and what I describe above came to the surface. Now I see what a mess I am inside and I really want to deal with it (not for her, though I still like her (but I think it's too late), but for myself). I have started seeing a psychologist and I have told her all of the above and more, and I am ready to do anything to heal from this. That is why I am posting this as well - I am looking for ways that I can move forward and actually heal from the rubbish ideas that I have been fed that subconsciously still influence me, and become a healthy, stable and strong individual. What helped you? What would you advice me to do?
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