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Thoughts I Need To Express


Brother Jeff
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Not sure this is the appropriate forum for this post, but I would appreciate any and all feedback on this. I wrote and just let the anger and the thoughts and feelings flow to finally GET THESE FEELINGS OUT, on paper so to speak, so I can deal with them and move on. Been stuck for far too long. I also wrote with the intention of sharing this with my psychologist tomorrow afternoon. I've written plenty of angry rants about or against Christianity before, but none quite like this. Anyway, here it is. Thanks and "Glory!"

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about positive changes I need to make to my life, which of course includes my thought patterns and the way I choose to respond to life events.

 

I have been harboring a tremendous amount of (completely justified) anger, bitterness, and hatred toward Christianity for about ten years now, ever since I came to the realization that I had been intentionally lied to, brainwashed, indoctrinated and deceived for 15 years of my life by an evil cult that doesn’t deserve even the slightest bit of respect. There is a part of me that would love to wipe the evil, destructive scourge of Christianity off the face of the earth and erase 2000-years worth of bloodshed, religion-sanctioned ignorance, and severely stunted social and scientific progress, if I had the power to do so.

 

The fundamentalist Christian cult destroyed my life. They claimed to have “God’s Truth” for everybody for all time handed down from God in a divinely inspired, infallible and inerrant book. Instead, what they offered me was a severely flawed myth-error-atrocity -absurdity-bad “history”-ridden “holy” book, a pack of ancient myths and lies, false and severely psychologically damaging doctrines, and many false promises. They seem to have originated the “bait and switch” tactic that shady salespeople are known to use frequently. They got it straight from the Church!

 

Christians talk a lot about love but rarely show it. I heard about love in church – about how much God allegedly loved me and what Jesus had supposedly done for me. This “love” comes packaged with an immense amount of psychologically damaging guilt, shame and fear designed to lock the unfortunate victim of this mental and emotional abuse into the cult belief system for life.

 

How do Christian cultists define “love”? “God sacrificed himself to himself to save us from himself.” The absurdity of that doctrine aside for the moment, how exactly does that equal “love”?

Christianity can be humorously (but accurately) defined as shown in this graphic:

 

christianity.jpg

 

Much of the world has been enslaved to this absurd belief system for 2000 years. Much of the rest of the world has been and still is enslaved to the equally (at least) absurd, evil, and damaging religious nonsense known as Islam.

I spent 15 years of my life believing that I was a sinful, depraved, essentially evil (without Jesus) worthless being who had no chance of being “good enough” for God (without Jesus). I spent those years fearing hell and fearing angering God and a tremendous amount of time feeling religious guilt and shame that I now realize was needless and without any basis in reality. I also spent those years fearing that my “unsaved” family and friends would be going to hell to burn and be tortured forever.

 

To say that Christianity is a very dangerous and damaging belief system would be stating the case very mildly! It is a clear and present danger to anyone who has the misfortune of getting sucked into it. Instead of enjoying its completely undeserved status as a socially acceptable belief system and instead of being allowed to trot out its pack of dangerous and damaging myths and lies and false promises on a weekly (at a minimum) basis, the fundamentalist Christian church should be revealed publicly as the dangerous cult that it is and condemned by the mental health community as strongly as is possible. There should be strong warnings against the doctrines and teachings of this evil cult not only on the Internet, but in every conceivable media outlet. The proper authorities would do no less in the case of a tainted food, water or disease outbreak and psychologically damaging, dangerous belief systems should get no less. In no way should they be given any special protection nor should they be allowed to freely prey on the unsuspecting public.

 

I live every day with the damage done to me by the fundamentalist Christian cult even though I walked away from it eleven years ago. The damage done was severe and it has been lasting.

 

Knowing intellectually that Christianity has no basis in reality and that the same goes for the fear, guilt, and shame that I was subjected to for so many years is of course a good and valuable thing, but it doesn’t address the psychological damage done or the strong negative emotional baggage I have been left with which I have been unable to resolve.

 

I know intellectually that I am and always have been a good, caring, loving, giving, and compassionate person. But the emotional baggage and toxic teachings I still carry from my days in the Christian cult tells me that I am a sinful, bad, essentially depraved and evil person who was born deserving to burn in hell forever – that my righteous and good acts are as filthy rags to God (Isaiah 64:6).

 

All of us have become like one who is unclean,

and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;

we all shrivel up like a leaf,

and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

With this kind of belief drilled into me for years, how can I be expected to honestly feel good about myself? How can I possibly really love myself and see myself as worthy of love with this kind of toxic garbage still infecting my thought processes and my sense of self-worth? How can I possibly have a healthy sense of self-esteem having believed this of myself for so long? I am fully aware now intellectually that “sin” is a religious concept with no basis in reality but after so many years of fearing and hating my supposed sinfulness and asking God often to forgive sins both of commission and omission and so often feeling judged and condemned and not forgiven and disregarded or forgotten by God, how do I overcome those toxic beliefs and find healing? How do I go from the “sin consciousness” that was drilled into me by the Christian cult to accepting and loving myself as I am – a flawed and imperfect but basically good and loving human being? Hmmm… I am indeed imperfect as everybody is, but am I really “flawed”? Such is the pervasiveness of toxic teachings, even after years away from the church.

 

I was taught that “God is Love” in church, but the reality is that most of the Bible portrays God as anything but “loving”. I hear Christians claim all the time that “God is good” and I wonder, “Have they ever actually read the book they claim to revere as God’s Word?” The obvious answer is “NO”. In the Old Testament, God is portrayed as repeatedly either ordering or directly committing mass murder. Genocide was perfectly acceptable if God ordered it or committed it himself. It was perfectly acceptable to beat the hell out of your slaves as long as you didn’t kill them. It was perfectly acceptable to murder homosexuals. God killed a man because he dared to pick up some sticks, which absurdly counted as “work” on the Sabbath. God sent bears to slaughter children who made fun of one of his prophets. According to Psalm 137:9, happiness is bashing the heads of infants against rocks. The New Testament doesn’t get much better. The morally reprehensible doctrine of an eternal hell is introduced as is the notion that it is perfectly acceptable to kill people if they lie to you (see Acts 5). The book of Revelation is a religious lunatic’s fantasy, but it portrays the slaughter of billions (if the events depicted were to occur in modern times) by an allegedly “loving” God and then of course after being murdered in horrible ways they get the extremely dubious honor of getting to spend an eternity in God’s BBQ pit. Praise the Lord!

 

I actually saw one of my Christian friends (whom I respect as a friend very much) assert on Facebook the idea that if criminals had been given the opportunity to read the Bible when they were children then perhaps they wouldn’t be in prison now. I couldn’t believe what I was reading! Most of the Bible is most definitely NOT appropriate reading material for children! Unless you want them to grow up to be criminals, that is… after all, according to the Bible mass murder, killing infants, murdering homosexuals and stoning disobedient children to death, among other equally immoral acts, are all perfectly acceptable things to do.

 

I’ve also recently seen the assertion made that America is in the condition it’s in because we have “forgotten God”. And that if we followed “God’s laws” we wouldn’t have the problems we are facing now. What a load of utter nonsense. I guess if we just “remembered” God and apologized for pissing him off, everything would just magically be okay. And especially if we figured out which set of God’s contradictory “laws” we should follow! *rolls eyes*

God is Love? God is good? NOT ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE!

 

I happen to like and agree with much of what the Eastern religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism teach. Buddhists generally lack a belief in a god, but Hindus of course have many though they are generally believed to be the personal aspects of Brahman, the impersonal Ultimate Reality. Christians will readily condemn the Eastern religions as being “false” and “demonic” while they think nothing of the fact that they likely understand little or nothing about what they are condemning while they simultaneously fail to consider the fact that what information they do have is likely inaccurate distortions of what Hindus and Buddhists actually believe gleaned from the writings of willfully ignorant, heavily biased Christian apologists.

 

I learned very well how to hate, judge and condemn others courtesy of the fundamentalist Christian cult. I learned the joy of anticipating God’s judgment on groups of people I was taught to hate. I was taught to view the alleged coming judgment of people I was led to believe “hated God” as a good thing, as “righteous and just”. It sickens me now to think that I ever could have thought that way or held such beliefs. Nothing matches the power of religion to warp the moral compasses of those who believe in it almost beyond recognition. Evil becomes good and good becomes evil.

 

I would love to be able to wholeheartedly believe that a loving God truly exists and I would love to be busy finding joy in serving others in any way I possibly can. That’s where my heart is and that’s what I know will bring me true happiness.

 

But before I can truly live that life – the one I know I am meant to live -- and embrace those beliefs I have to find a way to resolve these long-standing negative feelings and toxic beliefs. I will never know the happiness and the peace that I know should be available to me if I can’t find a way to get out from under all of this toxic emotional baggage I have been carrying around for years.

 

I have information and tools available to me – such as Eknath Easwaran’s excellent 8-Point Program – but to fully take advantage of the positive beliefs and spiritual teachings I have become aware of, I have to get out from under the toxic and negative anger, bitterness, hatred and rage that Christianity brought into my life. I have carried them with me and have been weighed down by them for far too long.

 

I want to see the positive changes that I want so badly to become a reality in my life and embracing positive spirituality and getting free of the baggage the fundamentalist Christian cult left me burdened with is going to be a huge part of it, but there is a lot of work to be done.

 

The closing verses of Chapter 2 of the Bhagavad Gita summarize beautifully the person I would love to become. I am far from it right now, but that kind of change and that level of spiritual growth is my goal.

 

Arjuna:

 

Tell me of the man who lives in wisdom,

Ever aware of the Self, O Krishna;

How does he talk, how sit, how move about?

 

Sri Krishna:

 

He lives in wisdom

Who sees himself in all and all in him,

Whose love for the Lord of Love has consumed

Every selfish desire and sense-craving

Tormenting the heart. Not agitated

By grief nor hankering after pleasure,

He lives free from lust and fear and anger

Fettered no more by selfish attachments,

He is not elated by good fortune

Nor depressed by bad. Such is the seer.

 

Even as a tortoise draws in its limbs

The sage can draw in his senses at will.

An aspirant abstains from sense-pleasures,

But he still craves for them. These cravings all

Disappear when he sees the Lord of Love.

For even of one who treads the path

The stormy senses can sweep off the mind.

But he lives in wisdom who subdues them,

And keeps his mind ever absorbed in me.

 

When you keep thinking about sense-objects,

Attachment comes. Attachment breeds desire,

The lust of possession which, when thwarted,

Burns to anger. Anger clouds the judgment

And robs you of the power to learn from past mistakes

Lost is the discriminative faculty,

And your life is utter waste.

 

But when you move amidst the world of sense

From both attachment and aversion freed,

There comes the peace in which all sorrows end,

And you live in the wisdom of the Self.

 

The disunited mind is far from wise;

How can it meditate? How be at peace?

When you know no peace, how can you know joy?

When you let your mind follow the Siren call

Of the senses, they carry away

Your better judgment as a cyclone drives a boat

Off the charted course to its doom.

 

Use your mighty arms to free the senses

From attachment and aversion alike,

And live in the full wisdom of the Self.

Such a sage awakes to light in the night

Of all creatures. Wherein they are awake

Is the night of ignorance to the sage.

 

As the rivers flow into the ocean

But cannot make the vast ocean o'erflow,

So flow the magic streams of the sense-world

Into the sea of peace that is the sage.

 

He is forever free who has broken out

Of the ego-cage of I and mine

To be united with the Lord of Love.

This is the supreme state. Attain thou this

And pass from death to immortality.

 

Eknath Easwaran’s 8-Point Program:

 

1. Meditation on a Passage

2. Repetition of a Mantram

3. Slowing down

4. One-Pointed Attention

5. Training the Senses

6. Putting others first

7. Spiritual fellowship

8. Spiritual reading

 

The person I hope to become, though it may take a lifetime of work, is far better than the person I was as a Christian. I would much rather learn how to love myself and every other living thing fully and without reservation than to stay angry at the Christian cult and never come close to reaching my full potential as a human being. That is my goal.

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Brother Jeff! I can relate to your post very much. I understand the anger, bitterness, and hatred toward Christianity. The brainwashing that was supposedly handed down from God in a divinely inspired, infallible and inerrant book, has certainly taken it’s toll on my life. I would say that most of the guilt, shame and depression I have experienced in my life comes from not being a good girl in ‘Santa’s’ eyes.

 

I have also spent many years of my life believing that I was a sinful, depraved and essentially evil without Jesus - a worthless being who had no chance of being “good enough” for God. I also spent years fearing hell and fearing the angry God. I too, understand the immense psychological damage done to me and the negative emotional baggage I have been left with, which I have been trying so hard to resolve.

 

I also know that I am a good, caring, loving, giving, and compassionate person. I was very naive when I was 20. I had low self es-teem. The institutional church is like the drug pusher who takes advantage of us ‘lost souls’ who are in search of purpose. Inside of all of us is a desire to fit in or to feel significant and that’s what the church promised me. I am a person who fell into this miserable trap. By the time I threw most of my life away, ‘serving’ this institution and attempting to build up my low self esteem, (trying to please god and the church) I have sacrificed precious time that I will never get back.

 

I have an addictive type of personality and god was my drug. We use unhealthy means to mask our dysfunctions and low self esteem. Dependence on any person, drug or religion (god) is a very sad dysfunction and co-dependency is powerful. This sick need to feel ‘special’ can take us down many poisonous paths.

 

People created a drug called ‘god’ then prescribe it to themselves as a cure and because we look to outside things to make us feel ‘special’ - we end up disappointed.

 

No more for me. I am working very hard at feeling ‘special’’ to myself. I know – some will say, ‘this is self –centered’, but I know deep down, I am the only one who has the power to make me feel ‘alright’. Nobody else can do it for me. I need to ‘approve’ of myself.

 

Just wanted to validate your great post today. Thank you for sharing yourself Jeff. I think your wonderful! :grin: Sincerely, Sister Margee!

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That was a very well-written rant! I think we all understand your feelings. The hard part for me is that my wife is still a fundie and is indoctrinating our kids with the same stuff you're talking about. Just the other day my 10 year old son came up to me and said, "I heard if you don't get baptized you go to hell." I asked him where he heard such a thing and he said, "From mom." Ugh!

 

Unfortunately, I am a wuss and am mostly "in the closet" about how I really feel about things. Over a year ago I told my wife I was having "some doubts" and even with that slight admission of questioning things she pretty much freaked out. I decided for the sake of peace in my marriage I would pretty much lay low and try to keep my doubts to myself, but when I hear my kids say things like my son said, it becomes hard to hold my tongue. I just can't let my precious, innocent, awesome kids grow up in fear of eternal torment. I told my son he is a good person and I didn't want him to spend any time worrying about hell. If my wife finds out I'm basically telling him there is no hell and that he doesn't need to worry about it, she'll be quite pissed (after all, without fear of hell, what motivation is there to believe?), but like I said, I think it is worth making her angry to avoid my kids being instilled with all the negative self-imagery like you talk about in your post.

 

Hang in there, and best of luck to you in dealing with your issues.

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I want to see the positive changes that I want so badly to become a reality in my life and embracing positive spirituality and getting free of the baggage the fundamentalist Christian cult left me burdened with is going to be a huge part of it, but there is a lot of work to be done.

 

We seem to have very similar goals. I am completely aware of the damage fundamentalist Christianity has done to me. I work on it every day. We all have the Buddha nature -that is to say, the fully enlightened mind. I really believe that and it is the antithesis of what I was taught as a Christian.

 

It is a misconception to say that Buddhism has no god. Perhaps accurate that it is not the same type of god that Christianity has, but actually there are many in the type of Buddhism I am practicing.

 

I can vouch for the effectiveness of a mantra. I have done it a lot over the past couple of years and although it seems simple, it has gotten me through a lot of sleepless nights and bad modes of thinking.

 

I am about to go nuts now, because of my career situation, but these outward circumstances cannot completely destroy my center because I do not subscribe to the crazy Christian idea that we are all totally depraved sinners with no hope outside of you know who.

 

The passage in the Gita:

 

"Every selfish desire and sense-craving

Tormenting the heart. Not agitated

By grief nor hankering after pleasure,

He lives free from lust and fear and anger

Fettered no more by selfish attachments,

He is not elated by good fortune

Nor depressed by bad. Such is the seer."

 

I don't know that a human being has achieved it. I have never seen anyone who has. I suppose there is no harm in having lofty goals, but it has got to be a most unusual person indeed. Maybe some great masters have done this who have had the opportunity to meditate for years in caves away from the type of thing we encounter. I don't know.

 

I guess that's all I have to say.

 

Best wishes, Jeff.

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Brother Jeff! I can relate to your post very much. I understand the anger, bitterness, and hatred toward Christianity. The brainwashing that was supposedly handed down from God in a divinely inspired, infallible and inerrant book, has certainly taken it’s toll on my life. I would say that most of the guilt, shame and depression I have experienced in my life comes from not being a good girl in ‘Santa’s’ eyes.

 

I have also spent many years of my life believing that I was a sinful, depraved and essentially evil without Jesus - a worthless being who had no chance of being “good enough” for God. I also spent years fearing hell and fearing the angry God. I too, understand the immense psychological damage done to me and the negative emotional baggage I have been left with, which I have been trying so hard to resolve.

 

I also know that I am a good, caring, loving, giving, and compassionate person. I was very naive when I was 20. I had low self es-teem. The institutional church is like the drug pusher who takes advantage of us ‘lost souls’ who are in search of purpose. Inside of all of us is a desire to fit in or to feel significant and that’s what the church promised me. I am a person who fell into this miserable trap. By the time I threw most of my life away, ‘serving’ this institution and attempting to build up my low self esteem, (trying to please god and the church) I have sacrificed precious time that I will never get back.

 

I have an addictive type of personality and god was my drug. We use unhealthy means to mask our dysfunctions and low self esteem. Dependence on any person, drug or religion (god) is a very sad dysfunction and co-dependency is powerful. This sick need to feel ‘special’ can take us down many poisonous paths.

 

People created a drug called ‘god’ then prescribe it to themselves as a cure and because we look to outside things to make us feel ‘special’ - we end up disappointed.

 

No more for me. I am working very hard at feeling ‘special’’ to myself. I know – some will say, ‘this is self –centered’, but I know deep down, I am the only one who has the power to make me feel ‘alright’. Nobody else can do it for me. I need to ‘approve’ of myself.

 

Just wanted to validate your great post today. Thank you for sharing yourself Jeff. I think your wonderful! :grin: Sincerely, Sister Margee!

 

Hey Sister Margee, I have one of those addictive personalities too. When I was a fundie, I was always looking for the next religious high. Those are the only times I really felt "right" with God and like I was okay too. I am learning more and more that everything I really need is already present on the inside. I was born already possessing everything I need -- not everything I want, but everything I need. I want a 3 Musketeers candy bar and an Orange Crush soda. But I don't need them. :grin:

 

I appreciate the glorious validation you have provided, Sister! Glory!

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"...reach my full potential as a human being."

 

That's a great sentiment Jeff, and a worthy goal for any of us.

Amen, Brother! Glory!

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Jeff, the Bible got one thing right. ...for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. Shit happens, good and bad, to everyone. Christianity tries (and often succeeds) to make us believe we are responsible for the bad.

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I want a 3 Musketeers candy bar and an Orange Crush soda. But I don't need them. :grin:

 

 

 

Oh yes you do!! Praise God! Hallelujah!! :vent:

 

3+musketeers.jpgorange_crush.jpg

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I want to see the positive changes that I want so badly to become a reality in my life and embracing positive spirituality and getting free of the baggage the fundamentalist Christian cult left me burdened with is going to be a huge part of it, but there is a lot of work to be done.

 

We seem to have very similar goals. I am completely aware of the damage fundamentalist Christianity has done to me. I work on it every day. We all have the Buddha nature -that is to say, the fully enlightened mind. I really believe that and it is the antithesis of what I was taught as a Christian.

 

It is a misconception to say that Buddhism has no god. Perhaps accurate that it is not the same type of god that Christianity has, but actually there are many in the type of Buddhism I am practicing.

 

I can vouch for the effectiveness of a mantra. I have done it a lot over the past couple of years and although it seems simple, it has gotten me through a lot of sleepless nights and bad modes of thinking.

 

I am about to go nuts now, because of my career situation, but these outward circumstances cannot completely destroy my center because I do not subscribe to the crazy Christian idea that we are all totally depraved sinners with no hope outside of you know who.

 

The passage in the Gita:

 

"Every selfish desire and sense-craving

Tormenting the heart. Not agitated

By grief nor hankering after pleasure,

He lives free from lust and fear and anger

Fettered no more by selfish attachments,

He is not elated by good fortune

Nor depressed by bad. Such is the seer."

 

I don't know that a human being has achieved it. I have never seen anyone who has. I suppose there is no harm in having lofty goals, but it has got to be a most unusual person indeed. Maybe some great masters have done this who have had the opportunity to meditate for years in caves away from the type of thing we encounter. I don't know.

 

I guess that's all I have to say.

 

Best wishes, Jeff.

 

After I wrote all that angry stuff out I actually got hit with religious fear and guilt and shame -- much more than I'm used to dealing with now. That's how deep the negative cult programming still runs in me. Even though I knew it was baseless and untrue, I still had the strong feeling that I was a wicked sinner for saying such terrible things about God and Christianity and that it would be just and right for God to burn me in hell forever. Yeah, that's insane, but the feeling was there...

 

I hope you find another job soon and that it is a great one that will last a long time. I'm not in the job market currently and I haven't been for several years now so I'm not one of the millions of Americans desperately looking for work, but I have a lot of compassion for those who are. I remember a time back around 1995 when I had 27 cents to my name, nothing of value to pawn or sell, no help coming from my parents, and no idea what I was going to do. Life sucked really hard for me at that time like it is sucking in a similar way for a lot of people right now. My father lives in fear for his job sometimes, and of course that does affect me. I hope we somehow manage to get out of this recession soon.

 

I think some very advanced souls have reached or have come very close to reaching the goal of life described in the Gita. I personally believe that Eknath Easwaran was one of them, based on what I have read of his books and what he has had to say in the videos of him I have watched. He was a great spiritual teacher, but he lived a normal, everyday life in the real world too. Only time will tell how close I will come to it in this lifetime, but yeah it is a worthy goal!

 

There is a lot that I don't know about Buddhism, but my impression has been that most Buddhists don't believe in a god or in the existence of a permanent self or soul. I wasn't aware that any Buddhist sect believed in deities, but that's good to know. :)

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I want a 3 Musketeers candy bar and an Orange Crush soda. But I don't need them. :grin:

 

 

 

Oh yes you do!! Praise God! Hallelujah!! :vent:

 

3+musketeers.jpgorange_crush.jpg

Amen, Sister Margee! I humbly bow before the gloriously idolatrous images you have provided of my gods and accept my need for them with joy! *mentally consumes gods with a joyful heart*

 

Glory!

 

:grin:

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Jeff, the Bible got one thing right. ...for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. Shit happens, good and bad, to everyone. Christianity tries (and often succeeds) to make us believe we are responsible for the bad.

Yep, agreed. Sigh...

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Had a great meeting with my psychologist. She asked me to read what I wrote out loud and we discussed it. She is very open to helping me work through religious issues and said she looked forward to it. She was surprised to learn what the Bible actually says and looked genuinely shocked when I read Psalm 137:9 and when I mentioned Acts 5 and God killing folks simply for lying to him. In a way, I relived the shock I felt when I was just finding this stuff out. BIG difference between what you hear preached from the Bible in church and what it contains that is rarely if ever mentioned, for good reason...

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After I wrote all that angry stuff out I actually got hit with religious fear and guilt and shame -- much more than I'm used to dealing with now. That's how deep the negative cult programming still runs in me. Even though I knew it was baseless and untrue, I still had the strong feeling that I was a wicked sinner for saying such terrible things about God and Christianity and that it would be just and right for God to burn me in hell forever. Yeah, that's insane, but the feeling was there...

 

Although I am sure the religious fear, guilt and shame were painful, it is helpful to know just how deeply this is affecting you. I am glad you were able to discuss it with the psychologist and she seemed open minded and willing to help.

 

I hope you find another job soon and that it is a great one that will last a long time. I'm not in the job market currently and I haven't been for several years now so I'm not one of the millions of Americans desperately looking for work, but I have a lot of compassion for those who are. I remember a time back around 1995 when I had 27 cents to my name, nothing of value to pawn or sell, no help coming from my parents, and no idea what I was going to do. Life sucked really hard for me at that time like it is sucking in a similar way for a lot of people right now. My father lives in fear for his job sometimes, and of course that does affect me. I hope we somehow manage to get out of this recession soon.

 

Thank you for that, Jeff, I appreciate it very much. Almost every job I have had I left unwillingly. Either the place closed or I was layed off. I had a great job in the 1990s and I wish I could find one like that again.

 

I think some very advanced souls have reached or have come very close to reaching the goal of life described in the Gita. I personally believe that Eknath Easwaran was one of them, based on what I have read of his books and what he has had to say in the videos of him I have watched. He was a great spiritual teacher, but he lived a normal, everyday life in the real world too. Only time will tell how close I will come to it in this lifetime, but yeah it is a worthy goal!

 

I believe there are enlightened people. I have read about some who by all accounts were very spiritually advanced. Two in particular - Dilgo Kyentse Rinpoche (Buddhist) and Nisargadatta Maharaj (Hindu). Maharaj led a very ordinary life as a shopkeeper. The Rinpoche was a high lama and had that privileged status, but reading some of the things he wrote and seeing film of him - it seems to me that he had very special qualities. Sometimes I just get discouraged that we don't see more of these people around!

 

There is a lot that I don't know about Buddhism, but my impression has been that most Buddhists don't believe in a god or in the existence of a permanent self or soul. I wasn't aware that any Buddhist sect believed in deities, but that's good to know. :)

 

I can only speak about Tibetan Buddhism, and I don't know very much. There is a self, it does exist, but it is not permanent or unchanging. Consciousness survives death and the subtle mind with its habit patterns is reincarnated into another form. Its rather complex in the explanation and I don't think I want to try it here, but that's the gist of it.

 

There are beings called "gods" but they are considered to still be in samsara - in other words, eventually they die and reincarnate on a lower level. It is not considered a good thing to be a "god" for this reason. The deities such as Tara, Chenrezig, Vajarasattva, etc, are not really gods or beings "out there" but are all aspects of the enlightened mind and are not separate from your own Buddha nature.

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I have an addictive type of personality and god was my drug. We use unhealthy means to mask our dysfunctions and low self esteem. Dependence on any person, drug or religion (god) is a very sad dysfunction and co-dependency is powerful. This sick need to feel ‘special’ can take us down many poisonous paths.

That's why I was so drawn to fundamentalism too, I have an addictive personality that always want that next 'high'. That has to do with having some major issues, dysfunctions that cause low self-esteem. Now that I look back on my life, I had a pretty tough time, I wasn't born into a healthy, loving environment. I was abused and abandoned, and probably more things that I can't even remember. Then as I got older I piled up more bad things for myself, and also life happened which I wasn't ready to deal with. Basically I've had a pretty fucked up life, so fundamentalism was just another way I tried to get away from it. Dysfunctional is normal to me, so fundamentalist Christianity seemed very right. Now that I'm older and realize I'm responsible for myself I have to work through all this baggage.

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....I would love to be able to wholeheartedly believe that a loving God truly exists and I would love to be busy finding joy in serving others in any way I possibly can. That’s where my heart is and that’s what I know will bring me true happiness.

 

But before I can truly live that life – the one I know I am meant to live -- and embrace those beliefs I have to find a way to resolve these long-standing negative feelings and toxic beliefs. I will never know the happiness and the peace that I know should be available to me if I can’t find a way to get out from under all of this toxic emotional baggage I have been carrying around for years.

 

I have information and tools available to me .....but to fully take advantage of the positive beliefs and spiritual teachings I have become aware of, I have to get out from under the toxic and negative anger, bitterness, hatred and rage that Christianity brought into my life. I have carried them with me and have been weighed down by them for far too long.

 

I want to see the positive changes that I want so badly to become a reality in my life and embracing positive spirituality and getting free of the baggage the fundamentalist Christian cult left me burdened with is going to be a huge part of it, but there is a lot of work to be done.

.....

The person I hope to become, though it may take a lifetime of work, is far better than the person I was as a Christian. I would much rather learn how to love myself and every other living thing fully and without reservation than to stay angry at the Christian cult and never come close to reaching my full potential as a human being. That is my goal.

 

I can vividly recall the early signs of my own "hidden wholeness" breaking through into my conscious mind. My wholeness was hidden in plan sight, others helped me to see it and cultivate it.

 

I distinctly remember the day I looked back over some of my rants and realized that over time they became less venomous and were strangely reflecting a gradual and affirming change. As I implemented the "information and tools available to me" I realized that I was finally giving myself permission to trust my own "gut", that is, I was learning that I could and must trust my own "heartfelt" self (both my reason and emotion). As I learned to trust my own judgment I begin to drop (not repress) my existential angst.

 

I put the ax aside when I tired from using it!

 

I began to work "out from under" by trusting my heart and mind!

 

The day I saw my rant slightly change toward wholeness was my psychological birthday.

 

I was "a man riding and ox looking for an ox" until that day I look "down" and found what I so desperately needed, my own "ox."

 

I do not have to become the Salt of the earth, I already am Salt!

 

I do not need to become Light I already am Light!

 

It comes with the territory or it does not come at all!

 

Our wholeness is hidden in plan sight! My task is to "see" my own wholeness, cultivate it, love it, live it!

 

I'm always looking for early beginnings I see them in your present post!

 

saner

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There is a lot that I don't know about Buddhism, but my impression has been that most Buddhists don't believe in a god or in the existence of a permanent self or soul. I wasn't aware that any Buddhist sect believed in deities, but that's good to know. :)

 

Take a look at Advaita Vedanta or non-duality. It seems to me a pretty distilled down form of Buddhism, without the religiousness. Ramana Maharshi and Nisargadatta have some great writings on it as well as I suppose the Upanishads, but I've found that a person can spend/waste all their time on 'self-enquiry' as much as spending/wasting it praying to Jebus. Though it can be nice to just consider the whole universe to be a ridiculous dream when life gets to a point of major suckage.

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....I would love to be able to wholeheartedly believe that a loving God truly exists and I would love to be busy finding joy in serving others in any way I possibly can. That’s where my heart is and that’s what I know will bring me true happiness.

 

But before I can truly live that life – the one I know I am meant to live -- and embrace those beliefs I have to find a way to resolve these long-standing negative feelings and toxic beliefs. I will never know the happiness and the peace that I know should be available to me if I can’t find a way to get out from under all of this toxic emotional baggage I have been carrying around for years.

 

I have information and tools available to me .....but to fully take advantage of the positive beliefs and spiritual teachings I have become aware of, I have to get out from under the toxic and negative anger, bitterness, hatred and rage that Christianity brought into my life. I have carried them with me and have been weighed down by them for far too long.

 

I want to see the positive changes that I want so badly to become a reality in my life and embracing positive spirituality and getting free of the baggage the fundamentalist Christian cult left me burdened with is going to be a huge part of it, but there is a lot of work to be done.

.....

The person I hope to become, though it may take a lifetime of work, is far better than the person I was as a Christian. I would much rather learn how to love myself and every other living thing fully and without reservation than to stay angry at the Christian cult and never come close to reaching my full potential as a human being. That is my goal.

 

I can vividly recall the early signs of my own "hidden wholeness" breaking through into my conscious mind. My wholeness was hidden in plan sight, others helped me to see it and cultivate it.

 

I distinctly remember the day I looked back over some of my rants and realized that over time they became less venomous and were strangely reflecting a gradual and affirming change. As I implemented the "information and tools available to me" I realized that I was finally giving myself permission to trust my own "gut", that is, I was learning that I could and must trust my own "heartfelt" self (both my reason and emotion). As I learned to trust my own judgment I begin to drop (not repress) my existential angst.

 

I put the ax aside when I tired from using it!

 

I began to work "out from under" by trusting my heart and mind!

 

The day I saw my rant slightly change toward wholeness was my psychological birthday.

 

I was "a man riding and ox looking for an ox" until that day I look "down" and found what I so desperately needed, my own "ox."

 

I do not have to become the Salt of the earth, I already am Salt!

 

I do not need to become Light I already am Light!

 

It comes with the territory or it does not come at all!

 

Our wholeness is hidden in plan sight! My task is to "see" my own wholeness, cultivate it, love it, live it!

 

I'm always looking for early beginnings I see them in your present post!

 

saner

 

Brother Saner, thank you! Your post is a keeper. In fact, I am printing it out so I can read it regularly. Glory!

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There is a lot that I don't know about Buddhism, but my impression has been that most Buddhists don't believe in a god or in the existence of a permanent self or soul. I wasn't aware that any Buddhist sect believed in deities, but that's good to know. :)

 

Take a look at Advaita Vedanta or non-duality. It seems to me a pretty distilled down form of Buddhism, without the religiousness. Ramana Maharshi and Nisargadatta have some great writings on it as well as I suppose the Upanishads, but I've found that a person can spend/waste all their time on 'self-enquiry' as much as spending/wasting it praying to Jebus. Though it can be nice to just consider the whole universe to be a ridiculous dream when life gets to a point of major suckage.

I do have some familiarity with Vedanta philosophy. I recommend this book highly:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Nature-Man-According-Vedanta/dp/1591810248/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1313998626&sr=1-1

 

It is not an easy read, but it is packed full of knowledge.

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Looks good Jeff. I have found that this type of philosophy and some mantra meditation has slowly made me in to a better, kinder, more relaxed person.

 

Whatever pathway you follow, just remember that there are other pathways that are equally valid in that they foster kindness and personal growth. Just take each of them with a grain of salt rather than believing that any particular one of them is "the answer".

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Brother Saner, thank you! Your post is a keeper. In fact, I am printing it out so I can read it regularly. Glory!

 

You're a kind man Brother Jeff!

 

You're welcome!

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