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Rosa Mystica

Confessions Of An Ex-catholic Girl

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For the longest time, I was undecided about whether I would post an anti-testimony here. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to expose my deepest wounds to the members of this forum. Finally, after much internal debate, I decided that coming clean about my faith loss might actually help me to heal from the damage inflicted upon me by my former religious system.

 

One word of warning: the story is both lengthy and painful. Just thought I’d give you the heads up before I began. (*Takes a deep breath*) Here goes:

 

 

I was born into a Catholic family. Both of my parents are strict adherents of their faith- especially my father. His staunchness is such that it makes him intolerant of those who believe differently. Growing up, I heard frequent insults against Protestant Christians, as well as all types of secularists. Of course, I managed to soak up all of this bigotry like a sponge- and spewed much of it myself for the longest time. My parents’ brainwashing tactics worked beautifully- for the almost the entire time that I lived in their home, I was the poster child for devout Catholicism. I went to Mass every Sunday, worshipped the Christian God, and obeyed every doctrine of the Church.

 

At the age of eighteen, my faith life became more turbulent. It was around this time that I began to question whether or not Catholicism was the right religion after all. I struggled with frustration over the severity of many Church doctrines for about a three year period. Then, at twenty-one, I somehow realized that the Church *was* real after all. I took much joy in my faith at this time, despite not being able to explain exactly *why* I believed in it. It felt real, and that was good enough for me. For a while, I felt like nothing would ever shake my beliefs again. Little did I know that it would only be eighteen months until my downfall began.

 

***

 

Fast forward to Summer 2004. At this point, I’d been dating an atheistic man for just under a half year. In the beginning, I’d been hesitant to go out with him because we had religious differences. However, I needed love in my life, and was not getting any from my parents (who are both abusive and manipulative). Somehow, my boyfriend and I managed to fall in love and get along with each other despite our dissimilar beliefs. However, I was struggling with one unresolved question that my S.O. had posed to me several months earlier. The question was: “What is the point of an eternal Hell? What human act is so terrible that it merits perpetual damnation?” I hadn’t been affected by this question before, but now it really bothered me. Why? Because although my religion did not *guarantee* that non-believers went to Hell, it *definitely* implied that this was a strong possibility. I felt a deep sense of sadness over this: How could a loving God eternally condemn the man I loved due to an inability to believe in Him?. My boyfriend did not understand the plausibility of theism. Why did this call for eternal punishment? As time went on, my sadness would eventually turn to rage.

 

***

 

At around this same time, I came down with a severe bout of scrupulosity. For those of you who have never heard of this condition, it is essentially a form of OCD that revolves around morality/religion. At this point, I’d already been struggling with the disease for a decade. My scruples revolved mainly around supposed sexual “sins”, and the ability to correctly articulate them whenever I made a sacramental confession. I often found myself asking if I really had meant to commit an “impure” act, or if just *thought* I did. I’d also worry that if my confessions did not sound as detailed as a pornographic story, then they were “invalid”, and my sins would not be forgiven. Thanks to the scruples, partaking of the Sacraments was excruciating for me. I was deeply unhappy, and could not understand why God allowed me to suffer like this. I was doing the best I could to keep myself free of “mortal sins” (I.e. wrongdoings that allegedly send a person to Hell if not confessed before death). Currently, I can recognize that the ritualized nature of practices like Confession and the Eucharist can easily cause a person to develop OCD- especially if it runs in one’s family (and it does in mine). However, two years ago, this thought never entered my mind, and all I could focus on was the sheer psychological torture that I was experiencing.

 

***

 

With my mental health getting worse and worse, it somehow dawned on me that *now* was the time to really look into my faith, and decide for myself if the Church’s claims really were based on truth. It was around this time that I started having anxiety attacks at Mass. Basically, I would develop the feeling that other congregants could see into my soul, and find out about all the horrible sins I had committed recently. Even though I *knew* it was impossible for strangers to learn what I’d done without saying so, the idea bothered me greatly. In addition to this, I also experienced some nasty physical symptoms (sweating, shaking, etc) on a number of occasions in church. While I didn’t panic at every Mass, I still found it hellish to attend. But I knew that if I skipped, then I would be in “mortal sin”- and would be at risk of frying in Hell forever.

 

On the occasions that I *wasn’t* plagued by anxiety at Mass, I was bombarded with endless questions about the validity of Christianity in general. During countless homilies, I couldn’t help but think, “Is this Bible story that the priest is explaining really true? It sure sounds farfetched to me.” And it did. All of the miracles allegedly performed by Jesus in the NT sounded totally unrealistic. Also, why did a perfect being (i.e. God) even *need* to have offspring??? What was the point, other than the so-called “perfect sacrifice” of the crucifixion (which was anything but, considering that “few are chosen” anyway)? As time went on, the Bible seemed more and more like a made up fairytale to me- especially because I had taken so many of the stories literally for most of my life.

 

***

 

Before 2004 ended, I had come to the conclusion that I no longer loved the Christian God. How could I love a deity who did heinous things like condemn people, or make forgiveness contingent upon revealing wrongdoings to a priest? These types of behaviours seemed awfully cruel to me. I continued to confess my sins - and my obsessions. But no matter what I tried, I could not bring myself to love the Christian God for whom He seemed to be. I never would again.

 

***

 

By the time March 2005 came around, I was as deep in doubt as ever. And something that I’d been suppressing decided to make itself known in a most unwelcome way: my sexuality. Up until the previous year, I’d been pretty much asexual. But after falling in love, I realized that I *did* have an immensely powerful sex drive. The discovery brought a mix of pain and pleasure to my life (mostly pain). Did I end up “doing it”? No. But I *did* engage in other acts of physical affection with my partner that I *knew* the Church was against. See, in Catholicism, it’s not just pre-marital sex that’s forbidden for singles, but any act that brings about sexual arousal. While I had previously endorsed the Church’s stance in this area, I now found myself left with guilt and confusion. I had obsessed about “going too far” in the past. Now, that I was *actually* doing so, I could not understand why that was so terrible in God’s eyes. Why did I have to feel guilty for wanting to act on my passions- especially when I knew they came so naturally to most twentysomethings??? The whole ordeal made my OCD worse- and made me increasingly reluctant to partake of the sacraments.

 

***

 

From an emotional standpoint, the rest of my year was a mixed bag of ongoing illness, shame, anguish, and questioning. It was in December 2005 that I made my last sacramental confession. I imagine the priest was concerned about my inability to love God, but he did not judge me for it. I vowed to keep myself sin-free- and to stop questioning my faith. But by this point, many of the Church’s tenets had become *really* difficult to swallow Things like the trinity, the concept of “mortal sin”, and the “Real Presence” of Christ in the Eucharist all seemed increasingly nonsensical to me. Still, I felt that if I stuffed down the doubts, they would eventually disappear. I made a painstaking attempt to do this after I’d confessed for the final time. But my resolve crumbled in less than two weeks.

 

I was realizing that I could no longer treat my faith in the manner I had been for the past year. Sooner or later, something had to give.

 

***

 

It was in late February of 2006 that I finally reached my breaking point. I was sitting in the food court of a local mall with my sweetie. Feeling frustrated about all my doubts, I asked him, “Do you think I’m still Catholic?”

 

He responded with, “Yes, but you appear to be a struggling one.”

 

I felt a wave of anger wash over me. I hesitated, then said, “Don’t ever call me Catholic again. I’m an *ex-Catholic* now. I don’t want to be associated with that religion.”

 

He promised that he would keep that in mind from this point on.

 

With the end of this discussion, I acknowledged the end of my faith. The deconversion was now complete.

 

***

 

For the first couple of months after this conversation, I was shocked that I had actually lost my faith. Sometimes, I had doubts about my newfound disbelief. I wondered, “Am I really an ex-Catholic, or do I just think I am? Of course, looking back, I realize that this was likely my OCD acting up again. However, I found that I no longer had the types of scruples that had plagued me as a Catholic. I came to terms with the fact that sexuality was not a bad thing, and that I needn’t feel guilt over indulgence in certain acts. I also acknowledged that my former religion had indeed contributed to my illness. From this point on, I strived to be honest with myself about my feelings, thoughts and beliefs.

 

***

 

It is has now six months later . I continue to be spiritual despite non-adherence to a religious system. I believe that a higher power does exist, but am convinced that it is entirely different from Biblegod. I acknowledge that this force may not intervene in human affairs, and that I might be a deist. But my current conception of God is still very much in the works. If the world’s creator(s) actually have a personality, I’m sure that he/she/it/they will understand the struggles I have been through, and will not act in the arbitrary manner that is so characteristic of the Christian God. To me, it only makes sense that God be compassionate. Why create only to destroy? The idea is utter nonsense.

 

I have pretty much given up all of the Catholic rituals that I once held dear. On occasion, I choose to attend Mass despite not believing. This decision is fueled by the fact that my abusive and prejudiced parents do not know of my deconversion (though I plan to tell them within the next year or so). But even this is a sporadic occurrence. At this point, I can honestly say that I no longer miss Catholicism. I am much freer without it. It is wonderful to be able to think and act for myself without experiencing guilt over it.

 

I lost my religion. I no longer have a belief in Christianity. But I continue to have faith-faith that I will ultimately find the answers that I seek. If I am to believe in something without directly observable evidence, then surely this isn’t a bad thing in which to place my trust.

 

I can only hope…

 

R.M.

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For the longest time, I was undecided about whether I would post an anti-testimony here. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to expose my deepest wounds to the members of this forum. Finally, after much internal debate, I decided that coming clean about my faith loss might actually help me to heal from the damage inflicted upon me by my former religious system.

 

 

Thank you for telling your story. I am inspired by it. Once again I am assured that I am not the only one who has been seriously abused in the name of religion.

 

It was in late February of 2006 that I finally reached my breaking point. I was sitting in the food court of a local mall with my sweetie. Feeling frustrated about all my doubts, I asked him, “Do you think I’m still Catholic?”

 

He responded with, “Yes, but you appear to be a struggling one.”

 

I felt a wave of anger wash over me. I hesitated, then said, “Don’t ever call me Catholic again. I’m an *ex-Catholic* now. I don’t want to be associated with that religion.”

 

He promised that he would keep that in mind from this point on.

 

With the end of this discussion, I acknowledged the end of my faith. The deconversion was now complete.

 

Congratulations. You're ahead of me in the game. Glad to see it.

 

I have pretty much given up all of the Catholic rituals that I once held dear. On occasion, I choose to attend Mass despite not believing. This decision is fueled by the fact that my abusive and prejudiced parents do not know of my deconversion (though I plan to tell them within the next year or so). But even this is a sporadic occurrence. At this point, I can honestly say that I no longer miss Catholicism. I am much freer without it. It is wonderful to be able to think and act for myself without experiencing guilt over it.

 

Truth has set you free.

 

I lost my religion. I no longer have a belief in Christianity. But I continue to have faith-faith that I will ultimately find the answers that I seek. If I am to believe in something without directly observable evidence, then surely this isn’t a bad thing in which to place my trust.

 

I can only hope…

 

R.M.

 

I hope along with you. Feel free to read my story if you like. I think we have much in common.

 

Ruby

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But I continue to have faith-faith that I will ultimately find the answers that I seek.

 

...Or you will realize that having answers isn't that important after all.

 

Thank you for posting your story, RM. It helps us get to know you better.

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Why create only to destroy?

Well done, Rosa, for including your testimony, and for leaving the cognitive-analytical bondage that we call Christianity.

 

For all of the rigid rules of Christianity, much more burdensome upon humanity is the demands that it makes with respect to the formatting of the human mind. I could deal with prayers 5 times a day, and lifelong celebacy, etc. But the burden that I cannot bear is the burden of believing that cruelty is divine, and there is sense behind the Bible's explanation of why Christ died. The Christian doctrine of "justification by faith," is functionally no different than a common chain letter.

 

Christianity teaches that divine retribution is destructive rather than creative. Platonic theism teaches that divine retribution, although it may hurt like hell, is creative rather than destructive. As you determine what point of view to take on the moral structure of the universe, you may want to take a look at Plato's dialogue, the Gorgias, where it teaches this:

 

The unjust or doer of unjust actions is more miserable if he be not punished and does not meet with retribution, and less miserable if he be punished and meets with retribution at the hands of gods and men.

 

The more you rely and trust such a God, the more beautiful Platonic theism becomes, and the less appeal the Christian mind virus has. Christianity truly is a dead end.

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I lost my religion. I no longer have a belief in Christianity. But I continue to have faith-faith that I will ultimately find the answers that I seek. If I am to believe in something without directly observable evidence, then surely this isn’t a bad thing in which to place my trust.

 

I can only hope…

You have faith and hope, and from what I know of you, love too...

Things you were unable to find within Catholicism, which was doing you no good whatsoever and a great deal of harm. It is so good that you have your bf to support you through this and as you continue to move forward, just remember that the past and its difficulties are behind you and you are now in control.

Thanks for having the courage to tell your story,

*hugs*

Cat

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Thank you for telling your story, Rosa!

 

I'll add one comment - I'm totally with you regarding the church's teaching on sexuality. I was raised Protestant and Assembly of God and sex is a no-no. When I finally decided to throw that teaching out, I, too, discovered I had a powerful sex drive. And my response to disapproval is, "This Ferrari was not meant to be always parked in the garage."

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Thanks for the positive feedback, everyone.

 

It was an immense challenge to tell my story. The main reason being that for the longest time, I could not admit that Catholicism was making me sick. Nor did I want to believe that that was the case- the Church constantly said it was the only correct path! Fortunately, I have been better. Still got a load of mental health issues due my upbringing, but hopefully, I'll be able to resolve them in time.

 

Thanks again,

Rosa

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Thanks for the positive feedback, everyone.

 

It was an immense challenge to tell my story. The main reason being that for the longest time, I could not admit that Catholicism was making me sick. Nor did I want to believe that that was the case- the Church constantly said it was the only correct path! Fortunately, I have been better. Still got a load of mental health issues due my upbringing, but hopefully, I'll be able to resolve them in time.

 

Thanks again,

Rosa

 

 

Thanks for the positive feedback, everyone.

 

It was an immense challenge to tell my story. The main reason being that for the longest time, I could not admit that Catholicism was making me sick. Nor did I want to believe that that was the case- the Church constantly said it was the only correct path! Fortunately, I have been better. Still got a load of mental health issues due my upbringing, but hopefully, I'll be able to resolve them in time.

 

Thanks again,

Rosa

 

 

I am the EXACT SAME EXCATHOLIC who struggled with confession as you. I am proud to say now I have no gods! I can go to church (out of family necessity sometimes) receive communion and not give a fuckin shit about it! What a revelation! The more I practice my anti god,anti church sentiments the better I feel. I just wish I woke up sooner. Fuckin religion tormented me all my life. No more.

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Thanks for the positive feedback, everyone.

 

It was an immense challenge to tell my story. The main reason being that for the longest time, I could not admit that Catholicism was making me sick. Nor did I want to believe that that was the case- the Church constantly said it was the only correct path! Fortunately, I have been better. Still got a load of mental health issues due my upbringing, but hopefully, I'll be able to resolve them in time.

 

Thanks again,

Rosa

 

I'm glad you could get somewhere more healthy (and more rational :) )

 

I'm sure if you have obsessive tendancies, a ritual-heavy religion can definitely reinforce them.

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for Rosa Mystica:

 

I too came from a rigidly hard-core Roman Catholic backround. It took me years to let go of it. So I can understand your difficulty with the guilt thing. For those who are reading this who are not from an RC backround--the church took the guilt of a Jewish mother and turned it into an absolute art form. It is their chief stock in trade. Without it their whole theology falls apart at the seams.

 

I am today as atheistic as the day is long. I am as convinced as I can be of anything, that the sick, twisted monstrosity described in the Bible as "God", CANNOT exist in reality.

 

 

"If a man, today, were to follow all the tenets of the Old Testament, he would be a criminal; were he to adhere strictly to those of the New, he would be insane."

 

Robert G. Ingersoll

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Oh Rosa Mystica. I'm an ex Catholic too. I understand what you say.

 

Is it real when you touch another soul in cyberspace? you've touched mine. Dude, I love you. Thanks for sharing all of your story.

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very isnpiring. my ex S.O. was quite hypocritical when it came to christian sexual morality. it never dawned on me until now, that quite frankly christianity loves to dictate what i do in bed.

 

i might as well have referrees in my bedroom.

 

thanks for your testimonial rose!

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Oh Rosa Mystica. I'm an ex Catholic too. I understand what you say.

 

Is it real when you touch another soul in cyberspace? you've touched mine. Dude, I love you. Thanks for sharing all of your story.

 

Well, I'm a lady, not a dude, but thank you for the compliment anyway. ;)

 

Glad I helped you some. And remember, if ever need to vent about anything (be it the damage caused by your former religion or anything else), then my pm box is always open.

 

*Hugs*,

Rosa

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Rose

I too escaped from the clutches of the Holy Roman Catholic Church. It did take 30 years. I was born a wee Catholic and Baptised. I left Jesuit College at the age of 19. It took me another 21 years before I woke up to all the bullshit. I suppose I never really believed it, especially the Trinity. What a load of rubbish that is. Three "Gods" in one "God'. In the meantime a study of Astronomy and Astrophysics led be to the conclusion that the bible is bullshit and Evolution is right. I finally cracked one Easter Sunday in the middle of Mass. I told my parents I had had enough and stormed out of that bloody church and waited in the car as I had to drive them home. They accepted my conversion to Atheism. Soon after I saw the movie "The Life of Brian" and found it more truthfull that the stupid bible.

 

I have done a lot of reseach in to the origin of Christianity and Judaism and come to the conclusion that it is all a bad rehash of Egyptian and Sumerian Myths.

 

You are a very lucky girl to escape from that brainwashing machine, the "Holy" Roman and Apostolic bloody Church.

 

Maintain your rage against Christianity and keep up the good fight.

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Hi Eccles,

 

Rose

I too escaped from the clutches of the Holy Roman Catholic Church. It did take 30 years. I was born a wee Catholic and Baptised. I left Jesuit College at the age of 19. It took me another 21 years before I woke up to all the bullshit. I suppose I never really believed it, especially the Trinity. What a load of rubbish that is. Three "Gods" in one "God'. In the meantime a study of Astronomy and Astrophysics led be to the conclusion that the bible is bullshit and Evolution is right. I finally cracked one Easter Sunday in the middle of Mass. I told my parents I had had enough and stormed out of that bloody church and waited in the car as I had to drive them home. They accepted my conversion to Atheism. Soon after I saw the movie "The Life of Brian" and found it more truthfull that the stupid bible.

 

Your lucky your folks accepted your newfound beliefs. Mine will not accept me for the person I've become. :(

 

I have done a lot of reseach in to the origin of Christianity and Judaism and come to the conclusion that it is all a bad rehash of Egyptian and Sumerian Myths.

 

You are a very lucky girl to escape from that brainwashing machine, the "Holy" Roman and Apostolic bloody Church.

 

Maintain your rage against Christianity and keep up the good fight.

 

I know I'm lucky. Being a Catholic was an ongoing nightmare- especially in the year in the half before my faith shattered. I don't miss its stupid shit in the slightest.

 

As far as "maintaining rage" goes, I'd like to stop at some point. My anger will not make Vatican idiots open their blinded eyes and see the damage they've done to millions of followers (as nice as this would be). I am a fighter, though, and will do whatever I can to make up for the lost happiness I endured thanks to lifelong involvement in the Catholic Deathcult.

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Guest Mike1945

Congratulations to you Rosa Mystica and all the other ex-Catholics who left the church. I think it is much more difficult for Catholics to leave their church than for Protestants. In fact, it amazes me because Catholics attend catechism classes from early childhood through adulthood. Couple that with confession where the priest learns everything about you and the mandatory once-a-week mass if you want to be a "good" Catholic - Wow, it just boggles the mind. Very effective brainwashing.

 

On the other hand, you have Catholics like Garry Wills who writes a book enumerating PAPAL SIN, but follows up with a book called, WHY I AM A CATHOLIC. I guess some people just don't get it.

 

Anyone, best of luck to you and your significant other. You have inspired me to write my little bio. Coming soon to a forum near you. Thanks for your story.

 

Oh, and by the way, the anger is normal, but it will eventually dissipate. I think all of us who have once been Christians go through anger before we come to acceptance of life without God. After all, most of us spent a good part of our lives believing in God and Jesus and believing that God loved us. When we finally realize that we've been lied to all our lives, when we finally realize that the promises the Bible made to us don't work, when we finally realize that that warm, fuzzy feeling we used to get in church or prayer can be duplicated in sex or a runner's high, and when we are finally courageous enough to take a critical look at the things we were taught, of course we are angry.

 

We finally realize that it wasn't our parents fault. They were just following their parents footsteps.

You and I would have to had we not stepped back and taken a hard, critical look at what we had assumed to be true because our priest or minister, our parents, our friends etc. said so. What I am saying is that we started thinking for ourselves and evaluating things for ourselves, and took personal responsibilty for what WE believed to be true. That takes a lot of courage.

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