Jump to content

Warfare


Recommended Posts

I've never really been able to admit to myself the extent of my disbelief until recently. Even now it is still quite shocking to myself that I am able to state this fact, through the written word no less. While outside circumstances prevent me from making this a public occasion, it is nevertheless a major personal turning point. I guess for it to all make sense, I must begin from the start. My journey is of one who was deeply involved in the Fundamentalist movement, and recently realized the pettiness and futility of the faith. I am only saddened that I have not been able to realize this sooner, and to prevent several steps in my life which have only served to 'reinforce' my faith in the eyes of others. Before my story can really be understood, I must provide some vital background information.

Please excuse me for any nonsensical or grammatical errors within this post, I am currently running on two hours of sleep and I felt I had to get this off my chest to sleep soundly.

 

I, like the majority of those who attend my former church, are all immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Back during the communist regime, the Christian faith was heavily repressed, and those who held on to their beliefs suffer heavy social and legal punishments for it. It is not uncommon to hear accounts of how the Soviet bureaucracy was used to badger believers into giving up their faith, and if that failed, to relegate them to the status of second hand citizens. A belief that was able to survive such repression was one that stuck deeply within the persons life, and was used to define every moment of their lives. Unfortunately for me, my mother was one of these people. My father on the other hand, is her complete opposite. A former alcoholic, he put her through hell through the years that they lived back in Europe, but changed for the better ever since our move to the States.

 

Naturally, I spent a good portion of my childhood in the former Soviet Union. Although the worst of the abuse I was never a witness to, and don't remember, the broken state of the family since then has always had an impact on me. In essence, we lived in poverty, and with my father bringing in zero income for several years, it was one that was plagued by the constant worry of where the next meal would come from. However, we managed to keep the pretenses of a stable, middle class household through the help of the extended family on my mothers side. Back then and currently, the church was an escape for the three of us, and it was the personal shelter of my mother, who used it as a refuge from her marriage. Marrying my father was and still is one of her deepest regrets, and one that she wastes little time in reminding me. My first memories of church were mixed ones. I remember running away from my first Bible school and wandering lost within the courtyard of the church. However, being placed into that environment, I succeeded and I was the favorite among my Sunday School teachers. I don't remember really understanding the doctrines or teachings, I just parroted what was told to me. I knew what I had to do to please my mother and those in charge, and I did just that. That has been the major theme of my life since, to play the stout believer when necessary and indulge my true beliefs away from their penetrating gaze.

 

When we first moved to the States, it was difficult. I didn't particularly fit in well, being a foreign kid that didn't know any English whatsoever, which despite me being of European descent, put me squarely on the same social ladder as Hispanic immigrants. I remember some of my very first friends being Spanish, and one of my first best friends was Hindu, even if we didn't speak of religion much beyond a casual mention to our activities on the weekend. That friendship didn't last very long, and we quickly were able to move up the economic ladder, and I was placed into the typical white suburban kid mold ever since. Despite it being a public school, I was surrounded by Christians, and even though all of our parents were strictly Christian, it was the one place I was able to express myself without worrying that word would get back to my parents.

 

During all of this my faith was...well I can't really remember what my faith was. It's an awkward question to think about, because at that age one is not able to independently express religious ideas, but is simply parroting the influence of whatever is taught at home. However, the friction of trying to fit a fundamentalist Christian belief system into a public school mold was in retrospect highly contradictory, and it wasn't a question I gave much thought. I simply went with the flow. If I was forced to attend youth group I went along with it, the benefit being that I could at least see my friends after the real Christian part of the activities were over. The church we ended up attending stateside was populated by former Soviet immigrants as well, and much of the culture was transplanted along with the Christian doctrine popular among them. Technically speaking, it is a Baptist church, but one with heavily fundamentalist elements. English was eschewed, and the culture of Americans was held in inferiority to our own. In fact, I remember many instances in which American Christians were mocked, which seemed a highly unchristian mode of conduct, at least in my eyes. The pastor was seen as the ultimate authority, and as were your parents. In fact, the ultimate authority of parents is still held even if you are well on your way to adulthood. Basically speaking, you are property until you manage to move out of the home. Your will is the extension of your parents, and you were threatened with punishment (physical, emotional, etc) unless you did as you were told. This environment bred a great deal of resentment to me, and I looked for ways of escaping the frustration.

 

Middle school was upon me, and by this time I was well adjusted to my environment. I was the good Christian son when at home and your typical American when at school or away from my parents. I swore, listened to whatever music I wanted, and read whatever I was interested in. Yet the frustration never went away, and I sought for outlets for it. Hence, for two years I was heavily addicted to an MMORPG, to the point where my grades dropped and my social interaction ceased. I felt that at least in that world I was free, but by the end if it I felt as though my time had been wasted, and I sought for purpose in my life. I decided to quit, fix my grades and social life and to dive myself head first into the church. I dived into the Scripture and I read it as a thirsty man who has found an oasis, I spent hours researching apologetics and the answers to the most controversial critiques of my faith. I became heavily active within the church, and I felt that it was my calling to be a Christian. A good majority of those hours online were spent getting into debates on forums against atheists, and I felt as though I was showing them the truth, even if in retrospect it is easy to see how flawed my argumentation was. I had lingering doubts about my faith, and I decided to push those away and get baptized regardless.

 

I remember that as I got into the water that day, I was literally shaking. Not from the cold, or the wind; it felt as though my body itself was rejecting the symbolism. My mind screamed "No, don't do it" as my head went into the water. For some reason it was then that the seed of disbelief begin to grow inside me, and continued to as I finished high school. What truly shook me from the faith was the inherent hypocrisy within the church, how those from 'the outside' were shunned, and how even American Christians were seen as inferior in their Christianity. That, combined with the hardcore fundamentalist teachings, forced the rejection of the faith I once held dear. By the time I graduated I was a Christian merely by name, and in essence was no different than my peers. However, I was still intent on playing the part of a Christian, if not merely out of fear of the reaction from my parents.

 

By the time college started, I began dating in earnest, and I met the woman I am currently dating. The relationship spiraled what little faith I had left at this point, and enabled me to see that it was not a place that I truly belonged in. She is a non-Christian, and our relationship has been incredibly smooth for the most part, which would usually not be the case with someone who fervently believed. My parents, reacted with rage when they discovered the relationship, and even more so when the fact of her lack of belief became apparent. Ever since then, I have been continually harassed, insulted, and belittled by my parents for even contemplating a relationship with a nonbeliever. The threats have included, but have not been limited to: getting kicked out of the house, refusing to pay for my college education, physical violence, confiscation of my personal property, unemployment, etc etc. Even if I listed all of the things, the ridiculousness of them would render them unbelievable. Sadly, I cannot even reveal my disbelief as that would cause even more friction in the household, as I made the mistake of choosing to live at home rather an on-campus.

 

As stands, I am trapped in a fundamentalist family, being the only member of 'the family' that doesn't believe.

 

It's ironic that at this time the parallel of Daniel and the lion's den is the only one that I can think of.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome Galizien. I'm new here myself. Your story is so sad. I don't know what part of the US you are in. If it's the south, you have my condolences. There are many of us who have had to endure our parent's gestapo-like christianity. I had to learn to go along, despite my personal beliefs, until I was able to move out on my own. It's all we can do while living in their home. I wish you the best and hope you are able to move away to personal freedom from religion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm currently living in the Midwest, but the fundamentalism has nothing to do with what region of the country I live in. Since my parents world consists of their fellow immigrant friends and family are over here, location matters not. Unfortunately for me, I committed the great crime of assimilation; preferring the American culture I grew ul in rather than the suffocating Eastern European variety.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i feel your pain man about being the only person in your faimly who dosnt belive. every one around me is a bunch of arrogant fundys and somtimes it can be very dificult but try not to let them get to you.

 

start looking for other atheist around you as i my self have found some but still not close freinds, you will be suprised what you find.

 

welcome to EX-C.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i feel your pain man about being the only person in your faimly who dosnt belive. every one around me is a bunch of arrogant fundys and somtimes it can be very dificult but try not to let them get to you.

 

start looking for other atheist around you as i my self have found some but still not close freinds, you will be suprised what you find.

 

welcome to EX-C.

 

It is difficult as they're pulling every card they have to inconvenience my life. They have a habit of taking my things whenever something displeases them. Just recently they confiscated my car, wireless internet access and etc, for continuing my relationship with my nonChristian girlfriend. Sigh, it's rather frustrating when I'm being treated like an infant, and I'm essentially trapped here until I can acquire my car again.

 

The arrogance is unbearable, and it takes every ounce of self control not to lash out and attack every idiotic, fundamentalist thing said. The Christians show their true colors.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.