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I Fell Prey To The Sirens.


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You know, the sirens of Greek mythology? That's how I like to describe what happens in my religious mind. Now most of the time, I'm intelligent! But something happened to me. The smells and bells of the Christmas season got to me like those damn sirens. For the past three years I was just dabbling in religion and I had no intention of getting serious about God because it's all imaginary. Then the Christmas season came. I saw the red, the green, the white, the candles. I heard the music, smelled the holly & mistletoe, and wham - I was seduced. I joined a catholic church. I took their catechism classes, got confirmed the whole nine yards. I fell in love with the stained glass, the music and pomp and circumstance. :( But I'm not going to church today. I can exhale now. I think? Just last night someone introduced me to Derren Brown. He's a mentalist and a hypnotist. Look him up on Youtube you'll be amazed. I was fascinated by his tricks! That proved to me how gullible people can really be. I don't believe in God. But I still feel like can fall prey to the sirens again. :( I'm open to any advice. Kudos to the admin(s) who created this forum!

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Derren Brown was an eye opener to me esp. and helped me to realize just how I had been duped and how I had duped others.

 

Welcome to the daaaarrrrrk side *creepy laughter* :grin:

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I started hearing the sirens again in Church a few weeks ago at my son's First Holy Communion (catholic). I had thought I was beyond that. I came back here for a cold shower.

 

My 14 year old daughter goes to an evangelical youth group every Friday with her friends and has remained resolutely unconverted. She wants to go way on youth camp with them, and I have said I'm a bit concerned about the effect it might have on her. My wife responded with 'ah, but she's not as gullible as you are' :(.

 

It's strange but I consider myself a rational person, and can see through scams with no problem, but when it comes to religion, it appears to be different. As an ex-evangelical, ex-Catholic (but still attending once a month or so) quasi-atheist I'll have to own up to being suggestible if not actually gullible.

 

We were watching a documentary about John Travolta last night and it got onto the topic of Scientology. My wife said 'don't you dare'. As if I would.

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From my own experience coming out of strong fundamentalism, I've come to believe that those coming out of these (spiritually abusive) churches often become more adamant about their rejection of God than those coming out of more mellow churches, such as Catholicism.

 

Within many fundamentalist churches, there is a high commitment level demanded. Everything is over-spiritualized and if you're not walking the thin line of accepted behavior within the group, then you're considered lukewarm or cursed by God, or some other form of negative judgement. Many times there's an atmosphere of guilt and fear that you're not doing enough for God and that you always need to repent for something.

 

If you don't pray, read your bible, or attend church often, then you're opening yourself up to assault from the devil and could lose your salvation. Once you're assimilated by the group you start to believe all these precepts deeply and are taught how to defend them from the bible. Living your life by the literal bible as interpreted by the group becomes everything.

 

So what happens is that because you're in the rabbit hole so far, and you have this overt fear of God brought on by all these black and white doctrines, the only way to get out is to study your way out. You can't just up and leave the group, because you're indoctrinated that you could end up backsliding or losing your salvation. Everything you know is based on scripture, and if you can't justify your actions with scripture, then you're considered disobedient to God.

 

In fundamentalism, if you want to make a clean break and be able to defend why you left to your friends and family (and to yourself), then your only option is to study why you believe what you believe. And for those that actually reach this point and research the hell out of the bible, many become adamant that the God of the Bible is non-existent.

 

Now and again I come across someone who left their fundamentalist church based on an emotion that they just "had to get out of there" (good idea), but they never resolved their beliefs and indoctrination. Years later they are still tormented, still fearful that they made the wrong decision, and have even gone back to their church for periods of time because of their fear of God's judgement.

 

This is in contrast to those in less damanding churches, where it's a whole different ballgame. The 'solutions' for fundies don't necessarily apply. In non-fundamentalist churches you can easily drift in and out with no commitment and aren't obligated to hold a specific set of doctrines. You're not forced to idolize the bible and obey its every whim. You can hold an independent, abstract concept of God your whole life and your beliefs are never challenged, because they transcend any supposed authority the bible has. You're not usually put in a position where you have to defend what you believe, nor do you get a constant barrage of people telling you how you should act or what you should believe in the Bible.

 

I personally feel that these types of people are less likely to become atheist. Their beliefs are based primarily on a concept of God and personal spiritual/emotional experience, rather than literally believing a holy book like the Bible. I'd be interested in hearing from someone who was in this kind of position and became an atheist, and what actually caused you to reject God.

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Personally, I am tired of EVERYONE else's opinions on both sides of the argument. It wasn't until I emptied my brain of everyone else's opinions that I could finally think about what I wanted, and what I thought. We make it too easy for all the talking heads to get inside OUR heads and party.

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I love Darren Brown, but before I had ever heard of him I was lead down the garden path by this movie in 2006:

 

Marjoe

 

 

But it still took me 3 yrs to say all evidence points to atheism in my mind. My initial reaction was "Pentecostals are wacky" then I got to thinking maybe their beliefs really weren't that much wackier than Presbyterian.

 

 

funny the movie is from 1972 but I had never heard of it til 2006. and yes, I was alive and well and going to the movies in 72.

 

 

If you would rather watch it in HD (in 10 segments) "monkeymichael" has youtubed the HD version.

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Personally, I am tired of EVERYONE else's opinions on both sides of the argument. It wasn't until I emptied my brain of everyone else's opinions that I could finally think about what I wanted, and what I thought. We make it too easy for all the talking heads to get inside OUR heads and party.

 

 

What opinions, and what two sides of which argument affected you before you left christianity?

 

 

 

funny the movie is from 1972 but I had never heard of it til 2006. and yes, I was alive and well and going to the movies in 72.

 

I really took a liking to Marjoe in that movie. I was reading somewhere that they said the movie was lost for years. They won the academy award for best documentary, but the movie was too controversial and got forced out of the limelight. They didn't find the film reels again until recently, then they released the DVD.

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Personally, I am tired of EVERYONE else's opinions on both sides of the argument. It wasn't until I emptied my brain of everyone else's opinions that I could finally think about what I wanted, and what I thought. We make it too easy for all the talking heads to get inside OUR heads and party.

 

 

What opinions, and what two sides of which argument affected you before you left christianity?

[

 

 

I was a christian for a very long time, I was programmed alright but with my own brand of christianity which was mainly pentecostal. The whole dawkins/hitchens thing kind of left me cold also, I really couldn't care less about creation/evolution, science doesn't float my boat. My whole perception of god and my "relationship" had to do with love, so nothing else even touched that.

 

For me the kicker was bad christian behaviour. If christians are supposed to become more of god and less of themselves why did the opposite happen? Why do christians treat the most vulnerable among them so damn badly? In the end it became pretty clear that there was nothing supernatural going on there, and that religion was just a method of social control. I also got sick of watching people pray for things that never happened including people suiciding from having more than they could bear, and faithful christians popping off from cancer at an alarming rate.

 

I realised that christians are no different from anyone else, mostly ego driven and selfish, things I thought christians were not supposed to be or certainly not want to be. Its dishonest and I just couldn't watch it any more.

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