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After 5 Months In It, I"m Worse Than What I Was


GypsyMoon
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I was going to post in the testimonials forum but I'm not ready to do that yet so I've decided to post this here.

 

Five months ago, I know some of you MAY know this, some of you may not, I reconverted to Christianity. I'm not sure if any of you are familiar with reformed/calvinistic doctrine, but that is what I was converted by, as well as the peer pressure.

 

For those of you not familiar with my story, I was raised in a very strict evangelical/pentecostal/charismatic/fundamentalist non-denominational home. I was abused for most of my life, until I left home in December 2008. (I was also an atheist for most of this time) I went to college (high school) for the first time in my life, and that was a nightmare. I dropped out after 6 months, and was going to go to tech, and it was in the three weeks between college and tech that I converted.

 

I've only been to church about twice during the last five months, and I'm sick of religion. But I am scared. Because the calvinistic/reformed view says that once saved you cannot lose your salvation (please bear with me here). So I am scared I will never be able to leave. I want to ... and I want to do it for good this time, but I'm so confused and in so many ways in a worse place than what I was five months ago, but I guess thats the painful effects of religion.

 

I've also been diagnosed with a few mental illnesses, but my psychiatrist can't make her mind up and so I refuse to believe anything she says to me. All I know is that I'm sick of manic episodes etc and that all this doesn't help when I'm trying to figure out what the truth is. Right now thats all I want to find - the truth.

 

The hardest thing for me to understand, however, is that my parents, who are devout Christians, persecuted me when I converted back, because I beleived totally different to them. Reformed/calvinistic theology is the direct opposite of what most Christian pastors teach and believe today, yet its the oldest form of christianity around.

 

Anyway that aside, I am really confused, and searching for truth. I guess I lost all the ground work I did when I was an atheist... and now I dont know where I stand, or where to start and where to go. I'm trying to find myself. I just dont know why people should have to go through all of this pain and fear. But I guess thats life. Unfair and harsh.

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Anyway that aside, I am really confused, and searching for truth. I guess I lost all the ground work I did when I was an atheist... and now I dont know where I stand, or where to start and where to go. I'm trying to find myself. I just dont know why people should have to go through all of this pain and fear. But I guess thats life. Unfair and harsh.

 

 

GM, it's a mindgame. It's a political control device. Just think of it like that and things will (possibly) be much more clearer to you. Kind of like a key that unlocks a chest...

Ask yourself practical questions like "Who benefits from Religion ultimately". I mean, who benefits on a Non-Religious level; purely money, power, prestige, control, etc... even if they are religious themselves?

 

As far as what I have quoted, please don't ever give up your search for truth. Life is very, very, unfair and harsh. However, keep struggling and you will slowly but surely make it better for yourself or die trying. That's my advice.

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Grease Monkey, it sounds like you are being pushed into situations that you are clearly not comfortable with. If you feel like the best way to set yourself at ease is to disassociate yourself from religion, then that is what you should do. Likewise if you feel comfortable with reformed/calvinist theology (which I gather from the post that you do not) then that is what you should pursue. However, being led around by others (with an agenda no doubt) when you know what is best for you will only lead to more hurt and confusion in the long run. Hopefully your parents can understand and accept you even if they might not necessarily agree with what you believe in (this may take some time, open-mindedness on their part, and probably several heart to hearts). As for the doctrine of once saved always saved, don't feel pressured to think that you can't leave xtianity because you've been saved in the past. Many of us have done exactly that.

 

We're all seeking truth in one way or another so don't be discouraged. Churches and church networks/parents/friends can be manipulative, and even though in their minds they may think what they are doing is the right thing, in your case it is only making your situation worse. You're your own person with your own thoughts, ideas, and beliefs; they shouldn't be silenced because your parents want you to believe a certain way.

 

I found a good youtube video which you might relate well to:

 

 

Best of wishes in finding yourself.

 

-sciencemike

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Hey, GM.

 

I'll kind of cut straight to my point. Don't be afraid to question your faith. I was a Calvinist/reformed Christian before I deconverted. (The rest of everyone I know is very anti-Calvinist so the transition from Calvinism to atheism just made everyone dislike me more. lol) I didn't let it stop me from questioning. If I was a member of the elect there could be no harm in trying to find out about whether the claims of Christianity are true. I don't know half of the questions or issues you have going through your head but I encourage you to have the courage to doubt. Find whatever makes you happiest and fulfills your life. You have a community here that you can talk to about your experiences and stuff. I don't know much about you and your psychiatrist, but I would try to work things out with her. Tell her that you need her to give you solid answers and treatments. It is her job after all.

 

:shrug: Hope I helped. Good luck.

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You have a right to be happy, feel dignity and peace of mind. For now, do you really have to figure it all out ? Would not a God that is fair "wait" for you ? Does God not have the time ? Why worry about pleasing other "humans" with their own little schemes and satisfying beliefs who want to turn you into one of them ?

 

I think you're starting to realize that you are smart enough and good enough to decide for yourself what seems proper to you, what is right, and at least, explore the various approaches to Truth without having to make some commitment to stuff that is just confusing and causing you misery.

 

In this life a lot of people offer up stuff that suits them fine, but is toxic to another.

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You have a right to be happy, feel dignity and peace of mind. For now, do you really have to figure it all out ? Would not a God that is fair "wait" for you ? Does God not have the time ? Why worry about pleasing other "humans" with their own little schemes and satisfying beliefs who want to turn you into one of them ?

 

I think you're starting to realize that you are smart enough and good enough to decide for yourself what seems proper to you, what is right, and at least, explore the various approaches to Truth without having to make some commitment to stuff that is just confusing and causing you misery.

 

In this life a lot of people offer up stuff that suits them fine, but is toxic to another.

 

Gotta go with Frank. Do your best to find out what's right for you. Be a free agent for awhile. Learn about these things you are struggling with. Learn about Christianity. Learn about atheism. Learn about Calvinism. Learn about depression. Knowledge is power. Use that power to eventually come to a conclusion in your heart and mind.

 

As said earlier in the thread, don't try to please people and try not to let them influence you in too strong of a way. It's your life and life is short. Too short to walk around with a weight around your neck. Live your life. Explore your questions and determine who you are and who you want to be. If it's right for you....it won't be wrong. Freddy

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They say that "Once saved, always saved" and that you cannot lose your salvation.

 

Remember, though, that this statement only applies if the religion is actually true, which, with 99.99% probability, it is not. Think of it as them telling you "Once you turn into a horned purple elephant, you're always a horned purple elephant." It may be quite true that there's no way to change back from being a horned purple elephant, but since there's no such thing in the first place...

 

Just the same with their "trap" mentality. Since there's no such thing as eternal salvation anyway, try to consider it a moot point.

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I don't know much about you and your psychiatrist, but I would try to work things out with her. Tell her that you need her to give you solid answers and treatments. It is her job after all.

Or, failing that, get a different one. I realize that such a suggestion might have a, "Let them eat cake," feel to it, since, for various reasons, some unfortunate folks don't have as many choices available to them in that area in a practical sense.

 

But it is entirely reasonable to tell her in the most respectful way you can that you feel that you're just spinning your wheels with her, unless something changes.

 

I've only been to church about twice during the last five months, and I'm sick of religion. But I am scared. Because the calvinistic/reformed view says that once saved you cannot lose your salvation (please bear with me here). So I am scared I will never be able to leave. I want to ... and I want to do it for good this time, but I'm so confused and in so many ways in a worse place than what I was five months ago, but I guess thats the painful effects of religion.

 

Obviously, you want to leave. You say so. It seems to me on reading this that your issues with Calvinist doctrine are not matters of genuine belief that their doctrines are logically cogent, but are, instead, issues arising from whatever psychological stuff you have going on being exacerbated by those doctrines. Those doctrines are just throwing gas on your fire.

 

As much as you are able to do so, I would suggest that you set a higher priority on dealing with the psych stuff than the religious stuff. Not at all to say that the religious stuff is unimportant, but sometimes, we can't deal with everything at once. I have a strong suspicion that if you can concentrate on working with your psychiatrist (or another one), that you'll find that the volatile level of the religious stuff subsides enough for you to then deal with it on your own terms. It's very possible that it could just happen naturally, and without so much inner turmoil.

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Thankyou for your replies, advice, suggestion, and support. I'm trying to sort through the arguments (ALL OVER AGAIN) for and against. I just really wish the answers were clear cut. I'm aware there is a very small chance that what I currently believe is true, and as someone said to me it could be like a "mental charm" on my mind.

 

I'm aware they use fear as a big aspect of it, but thats the thing. There is just so much I'm trying to work out right now, and quite frankly I wish I never converted. I remember the last time I was on this site I was shocked that I couldn't out argue a Christian, yet it was a one on one situation with a guy who refuted all my arguments and then presented me with another form of Christianity that I'd not heard before and so convinced me to convert. He claims this was the irresistable grace of God, however I question that because if that were so why am I finding it sooo easy to come back to sites like this one and so on.

 

Its like they have a reason for everything. He says that if I sin for a time, God will bring me back. To me, that is pointless. I dont get it. and I'm afraid that could happen provided the Bible is true. I mean I know it is just really a threat so to speak, but still it doesn't make a huge amount of sense. On top of this I have to go through the whole arguments for and against evolution etc.

 

Its just frustrating that I lost all that I previously knew as an atheist. But oh well I guess its my own fault. I'm guessing I never did know myself as well, and I dont know what the journey will entail.

 

But I'm hoping and trying to learn and I just hope I dont mess myself up so much this time.

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Recognize that all the rules and technicalities people come up with to lure you into the cult stem from a single source: the Bible.

 

Concentrate your efforts in the study of the book and its history. It is a steaming pile of dung. When you truly understand how lame the so-called "Word of God" actually is, the power and fear these people can use against you will vanish. There is NO BASIS for any of their claims.

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Please don't put yourself down, GM. None of us really know "what the journey will entail." I explored Calvinism too on the way out. It is very logical and in a way, quite compelling. You can't be blamed for falling into it. These people can make a very intellectually satisfying argument and make it sound attractive. It was only after I realized that the whole of it was immoral that I could drop it. Also it did help that when I visited a conservative Presbyterian Church, not a single person spoke to me.

 

To me, the answers are clear cut why one should not be a Christian. If they are not yet so to you, I would say just work on it. I recommend reading Church history and a lot of books about how the Bible came to be in its present form. If you undermine the authority of the Bible, it all falls apart, believe me.

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Sorry to hear that you're going through a difficult time, GM. The only advice I have is this: you HAVE to trust your own judgement. And I don't mean that in the sense that I'm telling you to do it- I'm not telling you to do anything- what I mean is that you have no choice. Any action you take, any doctine that you follow, or anybody whom you choose to believe is entirely up to you- only you can make that choice. So whether you want the responsibility or not, your necessarily hold your own judgement paramount over all others ('cause even if you defer to someone else, you've CHOSEN to defer). If you really want the truth (and who doesn't?), then all you can do is come to your own conclusions and follow them to the best of your ability. Threats and appeals to mystery or authority (which pretty much sums up most abrahamic religions) really have NO bearing on what is or isn't true- they only serve to circumvent your own perceptions and your own judgement.

 

 

Hope that made sense. Looks a little circular now that I type it out. Ah well.

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I have to admit this is a tough one. I've never seen OSAS used to keep someone tied up like this. It's usually the hell doctrines and all that. But to be "destined" to be dragged into a church or whatnot? That's a twist. I guess it could be like being dragged into hell if you don't want to go.

 

The way I see it is like Pascal's Wager. It costs nothing to believe but if I'm wrong I get tossed into hell. That whole thing. Well, since I don't believe I guess if by some off chance I die and, surprise, surprise, there's a hell then I guess I have to suck it up and get tossed in. But if OSAS is true then, well, by golly, I guess I'm getting some wings and perching on a fluffy cloud.

 

It's all pre-destined after all. I can't do a thing about it. What I *can* do is simply live my life in my own way while I can. I can't control what is going to happen after I die. And pre-destined is pre-destined but that doesn't mean pre-destined to kiss-ass every day of my life. To hang out in a church somewhere. To live and breath some old writings if I don't feel like it. I'm simply pre-destined to be saved or get tossed in a fire pit...and I'm fine with that. I've got better things to do in the meantime.

 

Since it's all nonsense cross that "afterlife" bridge when you come to it. According to the doctrine you don't have a say in what happens anyhow. So live life and be happy.

 

mwc

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Monkey Girl

I remember the last time I was on this site I was shocked that I couldn't out argue a Christian, yet it was a one on one situation with a guy who refuted all my arguments and then presented me with another form of Christianity that I'd not heard before and so convinced me to convert.

 

 

Don't worry too much when this kind of thing happens. Usually these people get you in a debate using "their" criteria, and elements of stuff that you still haven't shrugged off, such as the "authority of scripture" (see Florduh's remarks on the Bible)

 

 

Some of these people will come up with all sorts of ingenious counter-arguments; even I still have to sometimes think about a clever theistic argument at times (and I thought I'd heard it all), but upon closer inspection, many of these arguments are often based on some kind of "assumption" that hasn't really been properly examined. As to why they just can't say "follow your own path" is beyond me. It's like they're always out for some kind of "conquest" in getting a person to believe in "their" version of God and Truth.

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GM,

I also went back to Christianity a second time before I left a little over a year ago. I can understand how you feel.

 

What helped me leave the second time was basically studying Biblical apologetics. I eventually reached the conclusion that I am wasting too much time on a corrupt book that has too many problems in it. I read excuse upon excuse for contradictions and different translations and Biblical manuscripts. If Yahweh does exist, his evidence is so shitty that he doesn't deserve any respect. I got tried of trying to reconcile Science and the Bible, especially Genesis. And things like the Hebrew invasion of Jericho never actually having occurred eventually got to me.

 

If you want to shake your faith in the Bible, here's an exercise for you to try. Print out the resurrection accounts from all four gospels and cut them into strips at each sentence (Split the verses if you need to). Now try to piece them all together to form a coherent, chronological sequences of events. I don't believe you will be able to do that. I spent hours doing this and could not find a way. If you find a way, let me know!

 

If you want to shake your faith further, study textual criticism of the Bible. You will see for a "divine" book, just how f'd up it is.

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And things like the Hebrew invasion of Jericho never actually having occurred eventually got to me.

But this HAS to be true. There's a song about it and everything.

 

mwc

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Yeah, I'm guessing Bible apologetics are the best place to start I talked to the pastor about it yesterday, and he goes "Well, I think your saved, its just that your trying to handle the stuff you learnt and heard as an atheist. He said he's willing to help me with my doubts but I really dont think I'm going to talk to him much. Anyway pastor's freak me out.

 

So, I have a lot of reading ahead of me, and alot of searching out to do. And I'll be reading stuff on this site as well probably more than writing.

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Yeah, I'm guessing Bible apologetics are the best place to start I talked to the pastor about it yesterday, and he goes "Well, I think your saved, its just that your trying to handle the stuff you learnt and heard as an atheist. He said he's willing to help me with my doubts but I really dont think I'm going to talk to him much. Anyway pastor's freak me out.

 

So, I have a lot of reading ahead of me, and alot of searching out to do. And I'll be reading stuff on this site as well probably more than writing.

 

Grease Monkey, I am just going to come out, be blunt, and say it, don't talk to the clergy again. I wouldn't say it if I didn't have personal experience where I did it myself. Its just not a good idea.

 

I think part of you understands this, that is why you say they freak you out. Do all of your research on your own. We will help you here if we can. These preachers don't know what is going on in your head and they have a vested interest (their career) in keeping you stupid.

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Grease Monkey, I am just going to come out, be blunt, and say it, don't talk to the clergy again. I wouldn't say it if I didn't have personal experience where I did it myself. Its just not a good idea.

 

I think part of you understands this, that is why you say they freak you out. Do all of your research on your own. We will help you here if we can. These preachers don't know what is going on in your head and they have a vested interest (their career) in keeping you stupid.

Also, they too often have a frighteningly accurate instinct for zeroing in on whatever vulnerabilities may be caused by mental/emotional problems and taking advantage of them.

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Grease Monkey, you have good advice offered in this thread. I agree that knowledge is power, and that you should be the one to make important decisions firsthand. You have the Bible, and can find info on the web by yourself. I also agree that you need a psychiatrist who will be a help rather than a hindrance.

 

I noticed you love the outdoors. There are many beautiful places in New Zealand (I'm jealous!) where you could just BE. Take in Nature and contemplate the Universe without the christian thoughts. Maybe you will find how you truly fit in sans the artificial religious beliefs.

 

If you were born and raised in Iran, who and what would you be taught to be? Everyone has to battle for their own happiness. Maybe you could put christian beliefs aside long enough to find yourself. The fact that you have the desire and are honest with yourself, is a big step. I think you have what it takes to become whoever you aim to be.

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I recommend you read some eastern philosophy, like the tao te ching. These thoughts arose independant of abrahamic religions and it might be interesting for you to see what other people came up with as to the meaning of life and what lessons were worth teaching. When you look at human history you see that the bible is not really that special. There have been many holy books, and the bible was just lucky enough to have been endorsed by the greatest empire the western world had ever seen.

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