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Christianity Still Haunts Me


Everglaze

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Well, I've returned. I guess I left prematurely, because I thought I 'overcame' the influence of Christianity's scare tactics. Oh man, I was wrong. I still have moments where the imagery of hell is circulating in my brain. I seriously hate it. And, the fact that I'm only surrounded by believers chatting it up drowns me in emotions. How in the world does one recover from the thought of hell? This isn't something I dwell on all the time, but every now and then it'll pop up.

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I personally make it a point to ridicule christianity pretty often... and blaspheme the Holy Spook (thanks, Bro. Jeff) every chance I get. I think it helps to reinforce that fact that Christianity is hogwash... and drives those demons away.

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I hear you.

I was at a small gathering for new years last night - everyone there Christian (I am a new deconvert) and they don't know that I am no longer. It was bizarre to hear the xian music playing, that I had so loved not long ago, the talk about the Lord etc.

I was right in there a few months ago and now have all those crazy emotions about it all being a farce/over.

I am scared to quit going to church - only to lose the social aspect - I am introverted but can get quite lonely so church filled a void there. A belonging feeling I guess.

 

I guess we just take it as it comes, some days are better than others!!

I think we just need to get the support we need and know that this is going to take more time...

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Well, I've returned. I guess I left prematurely, because I thought I 'overcame' the influence of Christianity's scare tactics. Oh man, I was wrong. I still have moments where the imagery of hell is circulating in my brain. I seriously hate it. And, the fact that I'm only surrounded by believers chatting it up drowns me in emotions. How in the world does one recover from the thought of hell? This isn't something I dwell on all the time, but every now and then it'll pop up.

 

Hi Everglaze,

If you do a bit of research, I think you'll find that "hell" as generally taught by the christian church does not exist in the Bible. The Old Testament certainly teaches nothing of the kind. It's a carry over from other religions. I don't have references handy, but I remember reading some early christian writings where church leaders said that the teaching (of endless torments) was necessary to keep the masses in line. So, it seems to me that something like this happened: people converted to Christianity, but still held on to their pagan ideas/beliefs. Immoral early church leaders who didn't believe in it themselves, took advantage of the superstition and encouraged (and over time even built on it) it in order to control their followers.

 

HTH,

Sonia

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Well, I've returned. I guess I left prematurely, because I thought I 'overcame' the influence of Christianity's scare tactics. Oh man, I was wrong. I still have moments where the imagery of hell is circulating in my brain. I seriously hate it. And, the fact that I'm only surrounded by believers chatting it up drowns me in emotions. How in the world does one recover from the thought of hell? This isn't something I dwell on all the time, but every now and then it'll pop up.

 

I know exactly what you mean Everglaze. I still struggle with the fear of hell a bit. What's ironic is the concept of eternal damnation is what started me questioning my faith. I was a christian, my place in heaven was assured,(I was one of the once saved always saved bunch) but there were still countless other people who were "lost" and would supposedly burn forever just because they weren't saved.

 

The insane cruelty of this idea is what drove me to do research on christianity and find out how much viciousness it contains.

 

Something you might want to consider that'll help you get rid of the "Hell terrors" as I call them, is this: The Universe is extremely gigantic, vast and complex. Now assuming God exists, a being who could create a great cosmos containing billions of galaxies with billions of stars with trillions of worlds and again, all the complexity from the biggest galaxy to the tiniest sub-atomic particles wouldn't be someone so petty, cheap and cruel they'd eternally condemn people just because they didn't obey or worship him.

 

I'm not certain what made all this, but it certainly isn't the constantly pissed off firebreathing tyrant of the Bible.

 

I hope this helps.

Tabula

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Nothing worse than brain cling-ons.

 

I'm convinced that the only permanent cure for the christ meme is education. Jesus has to be replaced with something.

 

"Learning" is a really good "something". Jesus and the hell concept shrink into nothingness when examined closely under the spotlight.

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Ok thanks people.

 

The very concept of the hell that I was thinking of is what turned me away from Christianity, but it was pagan beliefs carried over into modern Christianity in the end? Makes sense.

 

I'll check out that link Sojourner.

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Believe it or not it was a xtian preacher who finally freed me from fears of hell. He said that hell is not really fire and torture and eternal physical pain, what hell really is is eternal separation from God.

 

I'm sure he thought he was telling us something really BAD... imagine eternally being separated from God! But for me it was such a relief. Eternal separation from God... GREAT! I can do that! I was worried about pain and fire! Bye God... I got a first class ticket to hell with all my friends.

 

Heather

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The main reason I left Christianity was because I could not deal with the idea of hell, and the idea of "divine vengeance," and "divine curses" generally. I believed it to be immoral. But how, as an atheist or an agnostic, could I assert an objective morality that could stand above Christian doctrine and the Christian God??? I really couldn't! It was kind of hypocritical for me to be railing agains the immorality of the hell doctrine if I couldn't account for eternal values, and a standard of right and wrong outside of each of our own individual opinions.

 

Thus, I had to recognize that my objection to Christianity was ultimately based on an alternative religious system that I could intuitively feel but didn't fully understand and couldn't name. After doing some investigation, I discovered what religion it was that gave me leverage over Christianity. That religious system is Platonism -- ancient greek paganism taught by Plato and Socrates. According to Plato, God punishes to correct only. There is a hell, but it is a purgatory that becomes more and more joyful as we allow God to correct us. This way of thinking seems to me like the perfect antidote to the Christian hell fear. If you shift your thinking slightly about hell, you can change the source of your grief into the source of your hope. Plato taught that God does things because he recognizes them to be good, they aren't good simply by virtue of the fact that he did them.

 

In Plato's Critias dialogue, Plato prays: "I pray that God would impose upon me the just retribution for my wrongs, and the just retribution for wrong is to be set right." These days, my prayer of salvation is the prayer: "Dear God, please burn me in hell." It sounds wierd at first, but it is the thing that gives me peace and comfort when the old anxieties start to fill my mind. The Christian idea of hell is that -- Christian. I dislike it when I hear people blame Paganism (a noble and beautiful thing) for the cruel innovations of Christianity. Religious pagans like Socrates, Plato, and Aeschylus had a much more honorable and beautiful way of thinking about divine vengeance:

 

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Maybe your analogy works, Lleywelyn, but I don't think Plato believed in any god.

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Maybe your analogy works, Lleywelyn, but I don't think Plato believed in any god.

What would make you think that Plato didn't believe in a supernatural being? The focus of Plato's metaphysical philosophy was "the good that is beyond being" (Republic, VI). To Plato, God is transcendent-the highest and most perfect being-and one who uses eternal forms, or archetypes, to fashion a universe that is eternal and uncreated. It is fashionable to think of Plato as a modern free-thinker, but both Plato and socrates believed in eternal and objective value -- they both believed in God.

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I would say use your imagination. Think of a probable hell that would suck to be a part of but it would be less painful than the cliche of sulfurous brimstone. For example, say the last day of your life on Earth was set on eternal playback. The emotional torture of that experience would crush any human will without the imagery of a burning Garbage pit.

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