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DarkLordPhil last won the day on March 21

DarkLordPhil had the most liked content!

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About DarkLordPhil

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    Western US
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    Writing, analysis, knitting, cooking, pugs, MCR, true crime
  • More About Me
    Raised Baptist and Pentecostal. Only just now realizing how damaging my upbringing was.

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

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  1. Unless they believe that the Holy Spirit of said omnipotent god will only intercede if they ask for something that god was already planning to grant. So if you face down the devil and God wasn't planning to let you prevail, you're SOL. (the pentecostal theology I was brought up around never stated this in so many words, but that was basically the gist of it. All the demon-smashing power you're given comes from God and only works when he wants it to. Pretty lame superpower, if you ask me.)
  2. Teenage edgelord lurking in comments sections: Every human on this planet deserves DEATH. The God of the Bible: Every human on this planet deserves DEATH. Make of that what you will.
  3. I read the books years before I deconverted, but I was obsessed with them for a good 10 years after my initial read. Reading them was one of the first things that helped me realize that religious people will sometimes lie to keep you away from something that isn't worth all the terror.
  4. I don't think I believed in an occult conspiracy back when I was in the church, but I did believe Satanic influences were everywhere. My parents weren't big conspiracy theorists, but they did believe that demons influenced entertainers and writers. Harry Potter, for instance, was inspired by Satan to draw kids into witchcraft. A lot of secular music, in their view, was demonically influenced to get kids to rebel against their parents and leave the church. I was terrified to read Harry Potter for the longest time because of this, but when I did read it, I learned that my parents were full of shit. Same discovery when I heard a song by The Goo Goo Dolls over the radio during class one day. Of course, both of my parents came of age during the Satanic Panic, so I think that had an influence on their thinking.
  5. Just my experience: I tried some more liberal churches when I was still trying to make Christianity work. The ministers tended to approach the Bible stories more as folklore or mythology, so not nearly as much literalism. But there was still an us-vs-them mentality, with "us" being liberal Christians who supported liberal causes and accepted those of other religions, and "them" being the conservative fundamentalists and evangelicals. If you were with "us," you were a good Christian following in Jesus' footsteps; if you let yourself consider "their" perspective too seriously, you were in danger of becoming one of "them." So I don't think the mentality of "with us or against us" is restricted to just one political persuasion. PS: Not trying to make any kind of political statement. Just sharing what I've noticed.
  6. Ah yeah, I'm somewhat familiar with Steve Hassan's work. He's appeared in a couple of podcasts I listen to—all of them on cults, no surprise there. I'll check out the other resources you mentioned, too. Oh no, I have zero interest in converting to Islam. When I was moving away from Christianity, I think I considered looking into Islam for maybe 0.032 seconds before I remembered that I wanted to get away from religious restrictions.
  7. Oh yeah, there's definitely a difference between good discipline (which IS important, if for no other reason than that kids do dumb things and need to have some sort of structure in their lives lest they kill themselves) and abuse. My mom was much the same as yours—she's in her fifties now and still throwing tantrums when things don't go her way, and Universe help you if you're in the same room when that happens.
  8. My parents always took that verse to mean discipline in general. Unfortunately, their idea of "discipline" included emotional and verbal abuse, since according to them, I was just so stubborn and prideful that nothing else would work on me. (Spoiler alert: Saying "Hey, don't do that" would have worked on me.)
  9. If you genuinely believe that a child is depraved to the core, you're going to focus more on stomping out negative traits than on encouraging positive ones—and positive traits like curiosity and assertiveness are probably going to look more like pride and rebellion.
  10. Assemblies of God. My parents went to Baptist churches until I was 10 (my dad was raised Baptist; my mom converted later in life) and then switched to Pentecostal churches after some theological disputes with their pastor. I haven't. I would appreciate recommendations for more neutral works on the history of Christianity. I do think that's the case with me—I walked away from my faith, but I see now that the idea that it's the only truth is still programmed into me. I have my own practice and haven't gone to church in years, but as soon as someone says "You're going to Hell," my first reaction is panic because I think they're right.
  11. I don't think this is exactly how I felt when I was taking my first few steps away from Christianity, but I did feel uncomfortable with a lot of the religions I looked into at the time. Some aspects of Wicca appealed to me, but the notion of joining another religious group and participating in rituals didn't, because I'd been forced into church and forced to put on a show for other Christians all my life. (You know, raise your hands during worship, ask the questions they want you to ask, act like there's no place you'd rather be than church.) The nice thing about paganism, though, is that it can be as formal or informal as you want it to be. You want to join a coven and gather for rituals? You can do that. You want to be a solitary practitioner who communes with your spirits and performs zero rituals? You can do that too. Pagan religion can be a religion of hundreds or a religion of one. You get to define what it means to you.
  12. Thank you! I think the guilt goes back to the old indoctrination thing—my mom is also a huge theology nerd, the type of person who asks for Bible commentaries for Christmas and her birthday. So I was raised with all of these seemingly ironclad arguments that Christianity is the truth. I found some articles on the main site about the mythololzation of Jesus and Pauline additions and whatnot, and those helped, but I still feel like I'm doing something wrong. I know I'm not, but it still feels that way. I think I will stick around here, though. It seems like a good community.
  13. I've been out of the church for about four years now. I moved out, took a job in another state, and just stopped going to church. Over a period of about two years, I started kind of hesitantly researching different pagan traditions—Wicca, Heathenry, Greek reconstruction—found shamanism resonated with me, and thought that was it. I'd left the church and didn't hold any ill feelings toward it or Christianity in general, and I was happy. But when I visited my parents (who don't know about my beliefs) this past Christmas, I went to church with them, as usual. They'd changed churches over the past year, and the pastor of this one used the Christmas Eve and New Year services to deliver….not quite fire-and-brimstone sermons, but definitely come-to-Jesus sermons. One of them was a little lighter, more of the "Jesus loves you, please come to him" variety while the other got into more of the "there are eternal consequences if you don't follow Jesus" theology. And I remember feeling just this sense of terror. I'd be lying if I said I didn't seriously consider rededicating my life to Christ right then, just because I was so afraid of what would happen if I didn't. You know those stories you heard in the church, where converts say they felt so convicted over their sin that they dropped to their knees and prayed for God to save them? That's what it was, except I didn't pray. I went back to my parents' house, processed what had happened, and concluded that fear of eternal hellfire was a terrible reason to embrace a religion. Ever since then, though, I've been thinking about just what I was raised to believe. There was a lot of abuse in my household—emotional, verbal, mental—and I've spent the past few years coming to terms with that. But I also became a Christian when I was 11 years old, after I started crying when this stupid "Biblical womanhood" self-taught course thing I was taking explained why sin is such an affront to God. I felt so guilty, so dirty and unclean, that I just sobbed as my mom led me through the sinner's prayer. It was always framed as a beautiful moment, and I thought of it that way for years, but the more I look back the more I realize how messed up that was. I was just a kid being taunted with eternal torment because I hadn't been following God's rules, and I was the one expected to feel guilty? But then again, that's how I was raised to see authority. My mom would sit me down at the table and say she loved me, then proceed to dismantle me as a person, as a daughter, as a good Christian. She'd tell me my depression and anxiety were a lack of faith. I think she suspected I was a lesbian long before I even learned what a lesbian was (I was very sheltered) and cut me off from female friends I now know I was crushing on. She refused to let me dress the way I wanted, refused to let me listen to music that wasn't made by Christians, and demanded I get straight A's even when I struggled with algebra. And she had a temper. I can't tell you how many times I'd be talking to her and think we were both having fun and joking, when all of a sudden she'd turn on me and verbally abuse me for my "snotty disrespect." Through it all, she'd say she loved me. The abuse is what stuck with me, but the love is what she wanted me to focus on. The more I think about it, the more I realize that this is the God I was raised to revere. An all-powerful bully who would send you to hell for making a face he didn't like, cut you off from the people you love because he thinks your love is wrong, and demand you love him with all your heart. And for a long time, I did. Or I tried. I was a devoted Christian for so long, trying to make my love perfect for a God I thought I could please. I look back at who I was then, and I know that Christianity might not have been at the root of my anxiety, but the fear of angering God certainly made it ten times worse. I apologize if this was rambling. I'm just now coming to terms with all that, realizing that the faith I was raised with was messed up. Which is difficult, because up until now, I'd thought Christianity and I parted on good terms. I didn't have any ill will against it; I just chose a different path. Except now I see that path was one no child should have been made to walk, and I feel guilty. I feel guilty for seeing my childhood faith was toxic. I feel guilty for seeing God as a bully. I feel guilty for wishing I'd been raised with no religion at all. Even knowing that there was something deeply wrong with it, there's still a part of me that wants to acknowledge Christianity as the only true religion.
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