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Worrying -- Emotions Disrupted By Christian Teaching


Llwellyn
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I suffer a lot because of my high anxiety level. In fact, I'm suffering more than usual tonight. I would say that I worry pretty much all of the time, and it does not help me be productive and effective. My anxiety stifles my joy and makes me sad most of the time. My parents introduced Christianity to me along with solid food and my first words, and I believed it thoroughly, studying it and thinking about it regularly. Before I left Christianity at age 25, one of the things I would worry about was "God's Wrath." I didn't want to cross any lines of proper behavior or forget some Christian teaching that I needed to remember lest I be cursed by the Christian God. I lived with a vague sense of impending doom, and walked around feeling like supernatural catastrophe could befall me without warning.

 

Now that I stopped believing Christianity, I still remain a worrier. Sometimes I wonder what my personality would be like if I had grown up in a more care-free environment, without the anxiety-provoking Christian upbringing and Christian doctrine. Maybe I would still be a worrier if I had never heard of Jesus and his hell. But I suspect that growing up as a small child with the Christian doctrines did set a pattern for my emotions that lasts until today. Do any of you feel the same way?

Romans 11:20-22 (New International Version)

Branches were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but
be afraid
. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.

Hebrews 10:26-27 (New International Version)

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a
fearful expectation
of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.

anxiety2.s600x600.jpg

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I suffer a lot because of my high anxiety level. In fact, I'm suffering more than usual tonight. I would say that I worry pretty much all of the time, and it does not help me be productive and effective.

What kind of things do you worry and have anxiety about? General everyday life, or just religious-centric things (i.e. fear of hell, sinning, etc).

 

I tend to be somewhat of a worrier myself, for example since the earthquake/tsunami in Japan since I live in southern California I started worrying about "the big one" earthquake that they keep saying is going to happen here and basically wipe out LA. I know there's nothing I can do about it and it may not even happen in my lifetime, but at the same time it's always in the back of my mind. I doubt Xianity caused that, but I did used to worry about hell a lot when I was younger (I was convinced I was going there even though I thought of myself as a Christian).

 

Did you worry about hell at all?

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I will never forget, or forgive, the night visiting my aunt's house in West Virginia at 18 years old when I was worried to death about my relationship with god, turned to that horrible book for comfort and reassurance, and happened to open to that passage in Hebrews. What a cruel, disgusting thing for already vulnerable people to read in the lonely hours of the night.

 

I stayed up all night in her upstairs living room trying to come to terms with it. Somehow I could just tell I wasn't misinterpreting this. No apologetic explanation would do. It was right there in black and white ... I was going to hell.

 

My uncle walked in the next morning and saw me curled up on the couch with a tortured look in my eyes. He asked me what was wrong, and I told him it was something I'd read. He picked up the bible and said, "Something you read in here?" and I said "yes."

 

He looked me eye to eye right then and said, "I know what you read. Hebrews?" "Yes."

 

He told me he had the exact same experience with that passage when he was 18. He said that he thought that passage has hurt as many people as John 3:16 has helped. He commented, "'You'll never go to heaven if you masturbate once' -- OH AND PAUL NEVER DID!"

 

In that discussion it almost came off like he secretly didn't believe anymore. I believe that he still marginally does, but if I ever decide to come out to someone in the family, I want it to be him.

 

He told me I should talk to his mother/my grandmother about it so she could explain it to me, the way she could explain why god "told the Israelites to go into that land and kill all those those people" and the guilt and horror I felt in the core of my being was just "lies of the devil." When I finally asked her about it years later she gave me the background of how it referred to early Christians who were still offering animal sacrifices, so once the sacrifice of Jesus was accepted, anything else was useless. I kind of accepted that but not really. Now that I've begun a secular study of the bible for other purposes I anticipate possibly a new understanding of that passage. But it won't take back what I was put through that night or the too many other times I was haunted by the consequences of believing that book and being one of those who actually read it.

 

I also wonder about the person I might have been if I never believed. But being who I was is what made me what I am. My goal now is to learn from that, and not to dwell on the things I wonder. I know it's hard.

 

Anyway, that's been my experience. Be strong. You're not alone.

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Fear is such a waste of a life. I am 50 now and lost years and years in terror over demons coming after me and not being worthy of the sacrifice of jesus. After my last breakdown I realised that if I did not let go of my fear I would be ending up in a bodybag by my own hand sooner rather than later.

 

Fear is a cruel mistress, because it comes from within us. Take a step back from the fear you feel, and ask yourself why you treat yourself this way. Sure some of us are wired for fear, before I started on antidepressants I was constantly pumped by massive levels of adrenalin. I constantly breated myself for my imperfection and for every little "ungodly" thing I thought. My internal house got the white glove test 390,0000 times a day to make sure there were no underlying nasties.

 

Problem is I never allowed myself to be a person. I was just a thing that had to keep god happy, and to do that I had to be afraid of fucking it up all the time. It is a sure recipe for self abuse. Stop it. Enlist the help of whoever you can to help you to stop. You deserve better.

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Now that I stopped believing Christianity, I still remain a worrier. Sometimes I wonder what my personality would be like if I had grown up in a more care-free environment, without the anxiety-provoking Christian upbringing and Christian doctrine. Maybe I would still be a worrier if I had never heard of Jesus and his hell. But I suspect that growing up as a small child with the Christian doctrines did set a pattern for my emotions that lasts until today. Do any of you feel the same way?

 

Yes, to a degree. I am a lifetime worrier and a sensitive soul. Religion or no religion, I am going to worry. I suspect it is genetic, but I think that the fundy Christian teachings did not help in the least. I was never able to focus on the so-called "comfort" found in scriptures that my mother evidently found. She would tell me she would read or remember a Bible verse and it would help her. With me, I would focus on the bad stuff, people being left behind after the rapture or what it would be like to be left behind when my parents had disappeared. I guess, truth be told, that I never felt I was actually saved. I never had the assurance of my salvation and now I don't see how anyone can have this kind of assurance the preachers used to talk about.

 

I don't consciously worry very much about these Christian doctrines anymore because I was able to pretty much eradicate them from my mind about 10 years ago, except that I do retain a fascination for religion and for this website.

 

I honestly think that the rejection of my peers and the bullying I took in Jr. High School probably had as much to do with my state of anxiety as Christianity.

 

Christianity was presented as something that would help, when in reality it did not. So, its true that I had the problem of not being able to be sure about being saved, an additional artificial worry created entirely by Christianity.

 

The thing is that other religions don't solve this anxiety problem for me either - I have tried.

 

My anxiety and worry now revolves around a different axis - which concerns my job, the hurricane season (I have been through 3 hurricanes) and my elderly parents. I know it would not take much to lose everything. I think about coming down with cancer and having no one around to help me. The older I get, the more I think about this.

 

I am keenly aware that this is no way to live. I spent most of last year in a nightmare of anxiety being laid off from my job and having to go find another. Everything worked out and I found another job but I don't like to think about the future. It sends me into another tailspin of thinking of the worst. I don't sleep too well and I don't have many friends in real life because I just can't take a lot of the obligations and demands that friendship seems to entail, on top of holding down a job.

 

I wish I could focus on positive things and live more in the moment.

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