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Do I Have A "right" To Be Angry?


pk62281
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Hello everyone. I was having a discussion with a friend about my past in fundamentalist Christianity. I was explaining to him how I felt angry that as a young impressionable mind and in college in the cornfields of Central Illinois, was manipulated and indoctrination into believing a bunch of harmful BS. I said there were always seeds of doubt, and was always aware of the contradictions, but I was too afraid to face those doubts and contradictions. My deconversion has also brought a lot anger towards the church, it's leaders, and my family. d

 

In a nutshell, my friend was basically saying that I really have no right to be angry at the church, and that ultimately I'm the one responsible for willingly letting that cult indoctrinate me. I know from a perspective of "moving on" I shouldn't be angry period. Forgiving and forgetting is usually the best thing in most situations. I understand that much. But where do you think the line should be drawn between making my own decisions, and the manipulative environment created by the christians around me?

 

He says I shouldn't be angry at the church and that it was always a "me" problem, not them. I told him he would never understand how powerful and effective the cult methodology is, but he wasn't having any of that.

 

This is a very complicated and abstract question I know. All I know is, I have a lot of anger from my Christian past. I see how it stunted my development as a person and stole away my college years. Is it "correct" to direct my anger at them? I put myself through that shit, but I honestly felt like I was brainwashed.

 

Thoughts?

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Your friend would probably blame a rape victim for dressing too sexy or for being alone where she shouldn't have been. Pretty judgmental and not very bright IMO.

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When I consider my deconversion, the person I am most angry at is myself. I generally do not feel ill will towards other Christians. I may feel a combination of pity and disgust (depending on the circumstance) but I am certainly not angry at them for my actions. I was the one who willingly subjected myself to everything I did or did not do.

 

I am certainly not trying to tell you that you should blame yourself as I don't understand the full dynamics of your conversion but I know with me I found Christianity because I had a "God shaped hole in my heart" *heh*. As a result I conned myself and have no one else to blame. I can be angry at them being deluded and thus help delude me but that doesn't make sense to me. The feeling I get when thinking of that isn't anger but sadness.

 

You have every right to be angry so long as it is well founded. Search inside yourself and find out if this is so and when you do, do not let anybody try to tell you otherwise, this includes your friend.

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Guest Babylonian Dream

Your friend would probably blame a rape victim for dressing too sexy or for being alone where she shouldn't have been. Pretty judgmental and not very bright IMO.

+1

 

Yeah the anger is all about what they did to you, so what? You have every right to be angry.

 

Arrogant selfrighteous people annoy me, especially religious ones.

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Christians have a bad habit of blaming people for everything. Its always the human being's fault. Its part of their twisted theology.

 

I personally wouldn't give someone the time of day that told me how I was supposed to feel.

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Pk, I think it's only natural that you would feel some anger. You were fed lies and time was stolen from you. I generally hope that those who leave Christianity will experience a time of anger, thereby creating some space for themselves, and then they will let go of the anger and thus feel the remainding spectrum of emotions available to them.

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Your anger is justified and not uncommon. I'm not saying you are wrong to be angry at Christians because I don't know all the details to make that judgment. However, I can tell you my general philosophy on the matter. I believe that anger should be directed at the religion, not the true believers. Remember, the true believers are caught up in the despicable religion and are every bit as much victims of it as you were. Assuming those with whom you had contact were authentic true believers and not that (I think) relatively small handful who know the religion is false but use it as a way to manipulate others, then I recommend directing your anger at the religion that now holds them and formerly held you in chains. Now, if they are among those who know Christianity isn't true but use it to manipulate for their own selfish purposes, then anger at those individuals is perfectly justified and warranted.

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Guest riverrunner

I still feel angry sometimes. I can normally just let people merrily believe what they want but when you have people warning you about hell or claiming noahs ark is true I get mad at them.

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I think you have a right to feel angry. I guess your friend is right in a sense - it was your "decision" to put yourself in that environment. But that still doesn't take away the hurt - people you trusted brainwashing you etc. I think what got me over my anger was that I saw that I couldn't blame the christians - they are all indoctrinated. And you can't blame yourself too much. It was a mistake, move on. The only other "person" to blame would be god, but as atheists that gets ruled out pretty quickly.

 

I just chalked it up as one big mistake and lived life to the full. O and never repeat.

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Do you have a right to be angry - of course. You have a right to feel however you want, however, it's what you do with those emotions that really is key. If you acknowledge that you are upset, perhaps taking some time to really figure out why and what angers you so much would be helpful. I know I had to go through that, then, knowing what I actually was angry about, there were a few things I was able to go and reconcile. Some things I decided weren't worth experiencing for what they would cost me in my life as it currently stands. Does that remove the anger? No...but I've acknowledged it's there, why I'm angry, and I can move on. There are moments, or hell even days, when I still get mad when I think about it too much, but these are relatively short lived, and I usually am able to quickly move past them and get on with living - and enjoying - my life.

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If you were raised as a child in the fundamentalist religion then you didn't really have a choice on whether of not to be indoctrinated into that belief system. If you were older when you joined you still got into a brainwashing cult. Either way I don't think being angry is about having a right to be angry. It just is. Emotions aren't always about logic. But they can be useful. Anger is helping you to distance yourself from a pervasive belief system that wants to control your brain.

 

After awhile you can probably start letting go of some of your anger but I am with the person who said the Christians are blaming the victim. They probably won't see it. In my family there was some pretty abusive situations and the ones who were hurt most are actually the ones everyone else thinks are buttheads for not going along with the "gee, our family wasn't so bad" script. I say you deal with it your way and I'll deal with it mine. It was never okay to me that we were abused and it never will be.

 

Of course, that doesn't mean I can legitimately take out my anger on other living creatures. Try keeping journal or doing something else that is a healthy outlet.

 

You do have deal with your anger and figure out what you are really angry about so that you can move on. Was it being lied to? The loss of time to do other things? Are you really kind of mad at yourself for being so gullible? All of the above? Something else entirely?

 

Frankly, I am still peeved at the Christian message and Christianity and I think that is okay. They foist a lot of superstitious, psychologically harmful crapola onto us humans like we are lowly worms and filthy rags. But, I don't hate most of the Christians just the message. Most of the Christians are really just brainwashed.

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Guest riverrunner

Lately I confess I am getting more pissed. maybe since this is my first christmas as a full on non-believer. wise men following a star? seriously? noah's ark? you have to be kidding (but they are not)? adam and eve? really? there are so many stupid unbelievable things they demand we believe or we go to their unbelievable hell? I don't know about you all but that drives me nuts. fuck yes I am angry.

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Do you have a right to be angry - of course. You have a right to feel however you want, however, it's what you do with those emotions that really is key.

^^^ This.

 

There are many ways to express anger, and some are considerably more useful than others. The kind of rage that burns you in the gut and urges you to lash out... That's the one I occasionally have trouble with. It's exhilarating in small doses, but as a steady diet it can actually make you physically ill. (It also seems to perpetuate hurt rather than fix it, but in the early stages of breaking away it can energize you and get you moving.)

 

As for something being a "me" problem, how could it not be? You are the one who's been affected by it. That doesn't absolve the church of responsibility, though.

 

Finally, there is no "should" or "shouldn't" about this. We feel what we feel, and censoring emotions will either drive them underground or add another layer of stress to the mix.

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I used to feel anger too, as I examined the "them" that I was angry at, my anger went away. Primarily because "they" were victims as well. They didn't know what they were doing to you because it had been done to them as well. You were all caught up in the same brainwashing. This brainwashing is self-perpetuating, down through the ages. Their parents brainwashed them, as their parents had been brainwashed. Through strength of character and a particularly skeptical mind, you were able to escape it. They didn't have those specific traits and are therefore still stuck in the mindset.

 

For me, I had to consider that if they knew what they were doing to me, and weren't victims of the same thing, there would be more justification for anger. As it was, I could only feel empathy.

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In a nutshell, my friend was basically saying that I really have no right to be angry at the church, and that ultimately I'm the one responsible for willingly letting that cult indoctrinate me.

 

This is just beyond stupid. You don't "let" people "indoctrinate" you into something harmful, it just happens. It sounds like this friend has never had to come to grips with having been indoctrinated (either because of never having it happen to him or because he hasn't yet realized it), and thus cannot understand what you're going through. I wouldn't place much stock in his opinions on this issue, because he clearly doesn't have the slightest clue what he's talking about.

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Yes, you have a right to be angry. Religion plays on your most basic fears. So, until a person wakes up to what is going on, yes, they can have their way with you. Anger is a healthy stage in the grieving process.

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Don't get mad, get even!

 

It's too much to wish for that fundamentalism be eradicated. But we can make it so that they're ridiculed, marginalized, and not a serious threat to anyone save for themselves. As for their right to infect their own kids with the sickness, well... we can help make a world where the kids who want out of it, however subconsciously, can easily get out of it.

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Hello everyone. I was having a discussion with a friend about my past in fundamentalist Christianity. I was explaining to him how I felt angry that as a young impressionable mind and in college in the cornfields of Central Illinois, was manipulated and indoctrination into believing a bunch of harmful BS. I said there were always seeds of doubt, and was always aware of the contradictions, but I was too afraid to face those doubts and contradictions. My deconversion has also brought a lot anger towards the church, it's leaders, and my family. d

 

In a nutshell, my friend was basically saying that I really have no right to be angry at the church, and that ultimately I'm the one responsible for willingly letting that cult indoctrinate me. I know from a perspective of "moving on" I shouldn't be angry period. Forgiving and forgetting is usually the best thing in most situations. I understand that much. But where do you think the line should be drawn between making my own decisions, and the manipulative environment created by the christians around me?

 

He says I shouldn't be angry at the church and that it was always a "me" problem, not them. I told him he would never understand how powerful and effective the cult methodology is, but he wasn't having any of that.

 

This is a very complicated and abstract question I know. All I know is, I have a lot of anger from my Christian past. I see how it stunted my development as a person and stole away my college years. Is it "correct" to direct my anger at them? I put myself through that shit, but I honestly felt like I was brainwashed.

 

Thoughts?

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I found this site tonight because I am angry also! I realize that I was looking for a place to validate that anger. Do I think you have a reason to be angry? Heck yes! I do think it is a process that we go through again and again as we learn to use logic and free thinking over faith. Our Christian families and friends do tend to continue to try to save us from ourselves. It takes courage to remain uneffected by their need to help us to "see the light."

 

I encourage you to stay strong on your convictions, and to find a way to cope with those who tell you how you should react and feel. I believe that we need to feel anger as a part of our growing process as long as we work through it and come out the anger having learned something from it.

 

Indocrination is indocrination no matter at what stage in your life it happens. It can happen to anyone who is open, vulnerable, and seeking to fill a void. You don't have to defend yourself to those who would have you believe otherwise.

 

Enjoy who you are now, and get to know that person well. That is what I hope to do and maybe we have come to a good place to help us work through the anger.

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maybe we have come to a good place to help us work through the anger.

 

I think you have. I've received much help here.

 

By the way, welcome to the forums!

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I found this site tonight because I am angry also! I realize that I was looking for a place to validate that anger. Do I think you have a reason to be angry? Heck yes! I do think it is a process that we go through again and again as we learn to use logic and free thinking over faith. Our Christian families and friends do tend to continue to try to save us from ourselves. It takes courage to remain uneffected by their need to help us to "see the light."

 

I encourage you to stay strong on your convictions, and to find a way to cope with those who tell you how you should react and feel. I believe that we need to feel anger as a part of our growing process as long as we work through it and come out the anger having learned something from it.

 

Indocrination is indocrination no matter at what stage in your life it happens. It can happen to anyone who is open, vulnerable, and seeking to fill a void. You don't have to defend yourself to those who would have you believe otherwise.

 

Enjoy who you are now, and get to know that person well. That is what I hope to do and maybe we have come to a good place to help us work through the anger.

 

Well, said, IMHO. I see you are new so let me say welcome to exC.

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Though I've never visited this site before, I feel pressed to respond, given that I am the friend that pk61181 was speaking with...

 

Two things, really:

 

1). This discussion was completely misrepresented. OF COURSE pk62281 has the "right" to be angry. He's a human being, so I think we can all agree that, as a human being, he possesses certain rights, period. However, "possessing rights (liberties)" and "being right (logically accurate)" are totally different things. There was a case in Washington, DC, of a judge suing a local dry cleaners for $50 million, because they misplaced a single pair of his pants. His case boiled down to the cost of the misplaced pants, the shoeleather costs of finding a new dry cleaners, personal anguish, etc. Does he have the "right" to sue? Of course. But IS he "right" in suing, especially for that dollar amount? Of course not. So, no, it is not that I think pk62281 lacks the right to be angry at the church; I simply think that it's misplaced anger.

 

2). Many of the responses that thought they were disagreeing with the misrepresented argument made some mention of me being an indoctrinated Christian who was lashing out at a former Christian. This couldn't be farther from the truth. I have a similar background as pk62281. We grew up 30 miles from one another, both went to (different) state universities, and are now friends who hang out regularly. We also both grew up in similar (though no identical in intensity) religious households. I am an atheist now. I've been so for a number of years at that. In fact, if you ask pk62281, I am probably one of the catalysts of his deconversion. My entire problem with his "I'm angry at the Church" stance is that, because of its weaker logical basis, it feels like it weakens my stance that I happen to think is more logical. And by "weaker logical basis," I mean that it sounds like that of a spurned lover who is refusing to look at the situation rationally, and instead using emotion to drive his argument.

 

Thanks for reading this far if you have; I know I can be a bit wordy.

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Well, I'm not privy to the details of the discussion between you two, pk & peter, but I wanted to say I understand the difference you mean, peter, in the two meanings of "right", but it seems it doesn't even matter. It doesn't really make sense to ask whether one SHOULD or is CORRECT to feel something; emotions just happen (just get triggered by certain stimuli?), and we have to find an appropriate & healthy way to act on them. pk's angry at the church because of being indoctrinated there? Fine, not a problem in and of itself. I think being ex-Christian and realizing that what you believed as a Christian was false doesn't have to necessarily be a logical and rational affair only.

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Yes I believe you have a right to be angry. It wouldn't be good to dwell on it all day long though.

 

I had a problem with understanding my emotions because I was taught in church that you shouldn't get mad. That is a lie. Especially when it comes to what Christianity does to people.

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