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It's Taken A While To Get The Courage To Even Join This Site...


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My biological mother is a psychopath (in the clinical sense of the word), and her extreme fundamentalist christian beliefs were her most effective method of control and manipulation, along with physical and emotional abuse. Growing up, pretty much everything was "of the devil": music, dancing, sport, sex, singlet tops, chewing gum... You name it. By my 14th birthday, I was living in a refuge, and by my 15th birthday I was in foster care. I had two foster homes by the time I left when I was 17; unfortunately, they were both religious, and neither were good experiences.

 

At the age of 17, I went off the rails for a few months, until I found god again. This was to be a recurring pattern, unfortunately. I saw Pentecostalism as a solution: more modern, still Christian, unfortunately still damaging. Aged 18, believing I was doing god's will, I got married to a good christian man. Or so I thought. Five days into my marriage, I realised I'd made a mistake, when my good Christian husband came home drunk. I was in an abusive marriage, though I didn't realise it, as he didn't hit me, but divorce was not in my vocabulary. I felt so unhappy and alone, and ashamed, at the reality of my "Christian marriage". I guess in a way my own rebellious streak saved me, but not before I taught him a thing or two about telling me to "submit" to him- by messing up the house and telling him to clean it. Sure, I was a good Christian girl; but I hadn't forgotten my pride, nor my feminist beliefs. After 11 months I left him, and getting divorced was the biggest blow to my faith. I didn't believe in divorce. It was "off the devil". And yet, I refused to reconcile with him.

 

The next few years were spent drifting between the anger I felt towards god and the fear I felt for my doubts. I was scared I was entering into the grounds of the one unforgivable sin: blasphemy against the holy spirit. When I was 21, I became mentally ill with bipolar disorder, but it was three years before I would get formally diagnosed, at the beginning of 2010. Going so long without the right medication, or even a diagnosis to understand what was going on in my mind, combined with my religious confusion, led me down some interesting manic journeys. I found renewed religious fervour, followed by the utmost despair when I started believing I was demon possessed. Of course, ending up in a psych ward only confirmed this belief- after all, I had been taught that mental illness was merely demon possession. Religion and mental illness are a dangerous mix.

 

Moving to the coast was a new beginning for me. I was adopted by a local family, and my adoptive dad is a pagan. Of course I believed he was going to hell, and became involved in a local church. We debated much about religion, and I secretly envied his freedom. When my mind started the long journey of returning to me around the end of 2009, I began to suspect that church was a toxic place for my "fragile mind" as my psychiatrist put it. With the advent of my diagnosis, I started questioning in earnest what was me, and what was my illness, and religion came into that. I was so surprised to discover that religious delusions were pretty much par the course for bipolar. As my mind continued to clear, I began to wonder why Christians had always told me god's greatest gift was free will, yet then expected me to give up that free will and blindly believe everything they told me. I came to the conclusion that our greatest gift was not free will, but the ability to think for oneself. And I was loathe to give up my independence of thought for anyone, even god. After all, did not the scriptures tell me to "work out thy own salvation with fear and trembling"? To me, that didn't mean "blindly believe what you are told"; it meant "question, examine, think for yourself!"

 

I have been researching and debating for nearly 2 years now. And my conclusion is that the bible is one big myth, and I no longer believe in the god or Jesus of the bible. Christianity was made up by men, and the bible re-written and interpreted to suit certain agendas. What a lie I have lived. I tried to keep my faith; but really, short of a severe manic episode, I can't believe anymore.

 

In some ways I am relieved. In others... Well, I have a whole new appreciation now for how it must feel for a homosexual to come out of the closet. I am an honest person by nature, and I would rather come clean with certain members of my non-adoptive family about my new non-belief; but my grandfather is 91, and an elder in the churches of Christ. I love him dearly, and I believe that, to come out would only cause him unnecessary pain and heartache. So I plan to wait until he passes before I come clean.

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Welcome, blackpudd1n!

 

What a journey you have had. I am glad you are getting a handle on things. I agree with you that mental illness and religion can be a dangerous, even volatile, mix. I have always wondered why there is a disproportionate number of people with mental illness in charismatic churches.

 

I hope you continue to hang out here at Ex-C. It's a great place to find people who have been through similar things (including faith crises) and made it through to the other side.

 

Peace.

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I came to the conclusion that our greatest gift was not free will, but the ability to think for oneself.

 

That ^ ^ ^ is excellent! For some reason, that screws up believing in religion quite frequently! Enjoyed your story - welcome to Ex-C.

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Welcome to Ex-C blackpudd1n.

 

Congratulations for moving beyond the domestic violence and freeing your brain of the Christian virus.

 

I am also from Australia (Canberra in fact) and you will find some other Australians on the boards here with their "No bullshit" attitudes!

 

I believe there are also some people with bi polar on the boards who have swung between Christian and not Christian with their bi polar episodes.

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Thanks for your support, all of you, it really means a lot to me :)

 

I am fortunate in that my fiancée comes from a very scientifically-minded family, and he was very lucky to have two parents who refused to allow any form of religious indoctrination in him as a child, to the extent that he never once attended church, Sunday school, or scripture. They believed a child should make their own mind up when they were old enough, without any influence from them, the church, or society. At first I found this concept difficult to comprehend, but I now believe they gave him such a gift, by allowing such independence. Daniel explains scientific concepts to me that I was never allowed to even hear, and his religious indifference has given me the freedom to question my own former beliefs.

 

I don't fear a full relapse into religion, as those closest to me and the most aware of how my illness impacts upon me know about my deconversion and the road I travelled to this point. They also all know where to find my psych nurse, whom I see weekly, as any religious overtures would simply mean to them that I need some extra medication and a few days at home. As much as I hate being sedated, it's far less embarrassing than a personal crusade to save the world, and at least I get to do it at home, with Dan looking after me, than at that horrible hospital.

 

When it comes to the mentally ill, I believe churches can be particularly cruel. If you're not being told you're under attack from the spirit of affliction or whatever else they call it, you're being told that Jesus can heal you. Yes, you. Jesus can heal you from the destructive power of mental illness and radically transform your life. And they tell you they can heal you right now, and free you from that terrible spirit of oppression over your mind. And if you believe that garbage? Well, the consequences can be frightening. The thought of a simple cure to mental illness is seductive. The next step in the thought process? I've been healed! I don't need these pills anymore! In the bin they go! And yes, I've done it once. I was fortunate enough to have the insight to realise that, after 9 weeks, I didn't like the person I was when I didn't take my tablets, and that I was becoming unwell, and saw my doctor. Then, of course, the thought process can go one of two ways: denial of the illness, because, "I've been healed, dammit!", or, it's my fault I wasn't healed, why wasn't I healed, I didn't do/have (insert whatever here) enough." It's just so, so dangerous, and irresponsible, the stance churches take on mental illness. And it truly makes me sick.

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The thought of a simple cure to mental illness is seductive. The next step in the thought process? I've been healed! I don't need these pills anymore! In the bin they go! And yes, I've done it once. I was fortunate enough to have the insight to realise that, after 9 weeks, I didn't like the person I was when I didn't take my tablets, and that I was becoming unwell, and saw my doctor. Then, of course, the thought process can go one of two ways: denial of the illness, because, "I've been healed, dammit!", or, it's my fault I wasn't healed, why wasn't I healed, I didn't do/have (insert whatever here) enough." It's just so, so dangerous, and irresponsible, the stance churches take on mental illness. And it truly makes me sick.

 

It's even worse than that. The retention of those pills could be *shudder* a "lack of faith"! You have to get rid of them AND deny any symptoms that crop up afterwards or you are guilty of doubt and that will make Good Jesus take back your healing! Makes me sick the kind of shit Christianity imposes on people, especially (but not exclusively) the mentally ill.

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Welcome to ex-C blackpudd1n!

 

I am fortunate in that my fiancée comes from a very scientifically-minded family, and he was very lucky to have two parents who refused to allow any form of religious indoctrination in him as a child, to the extent that he never once attended church, Sunday school, or scripture. They believed a child should make their own mind up when they were old enough, without any influence from them, the church, or society. At first I found this concept difficult to comprehend, but I now believe they gave him such a gift, by allowing such independence.

 

That is amazing! How lucky for him.

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Heavens to Betsy! Traumatic or what?! Makes my own deconversion seem like a piece of piss! Welcome to the site.

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blackpudd, welcome and thank you for sharing that story .Wendytwitch.gif My heavens...... you have been through a lot! You might even begin to have a much more stable life now that all that foolish doctrine has been removed from your heart and mind. Stay with us and have some fun! looking forward to hearing more from you!!

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Sadclown, you are very right in what you say. And I believe strongly that it is abusive to fuck with the mind of someone who's already struggling with their own sick mind. Looking after my mind is my first priority in life now, as I know what the alternative is. That means that alcohol, drugs, and ANYONE who tries to undo all the hard work I've done, are not a part of my life. Church is such a dangerous place for me, so new as I am in my total deconversion, and they all mess with my head so much, that I refuse to go back there.

 

I have so much to learn now. I want to have as deep a knowledge of the fallacies of Christianity as I did of the in's and out's of Christianity itself. Not just because I need to know, either, nor because I know that when word gets out, a lot of the Christians I know are suddenly going to try and "bring me back to the lord"; but my biological sister is still in the church, and heavily brainwashed. We only started having a relationship again 2 years ago, so I will have to tread lightly. I left home at the age of almost 14, but my sister did not leave until she was 21, because she felt unable to, and only 6 weeks before her wedding day. I am thankful she married a decent man, at least; but being a Christian is a huge part of who she is as a person, and I worry about what will happen if that is taken from her. I'm not out to actively deconvert her, but the question of why I no longer believe will come up, and I need to be prepared. My sister is far from stupid, and keeps her true thoughts to herself, even if she outwardly says something different. And then I get a phone call out of the blue, like I did in august last year, when she informed me that she was not going to have any contact with our biological mother anymore. And she hasn't since. So I have hope for my sister.

 

I'm seeing her in April for her graduation, so I have about four months to prepare. If anyone could suggest some books to read, I'd really appreciate it, as I need to really solidify a lot of information in my mind.

 

Thanks guys :)

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Read "The God Virus". It is an excellent book and really helped me understand why it took me so long to get away from the fundamentalism I grew up in. It will help you better understand your sister and to formulate ways to talk to her. I am happy for you that you have broken away from the things that were hindering your healing---you go, girl!

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The retention of those pills could be *shudder* a "lack of faith"! You have to get rid of them AND deny any symptoms that crop up afterwards or you are guilty of doubt and that will make Good Jesus take back your healing!

Too true, thesadclown. Gawd, I feel the paranoia creep back in just hearing you say it! I'm so glad I am free from this.

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Thanks for sharing your story. It's nice to hear you're making your own way in life now. Funny how that's a threat to so many people who remain in the churches, maybe because of what they fear they'd do with THEIR freedom.

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Read "The God Virus". It is an excellent book and really helped me understand why it took me so long to get away from the fundamentalism I grew up in. It will help you better understand your sister and to formulate ways to talk to her. I am happy for you that you have broken away from the things that were hindering your healing---you go, girl!

 

Thanks for that, Klym, I will certainly look into it :)

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Thanks for sharing your story. It's nice to hear you're making your own way in life now. Funny how that's a threat to so many people who remain in the churches, maybe because of what they fear they'd do with THEIR freedom.

 

 

That's the funny thing. It's been about a week and a half now since everything went "bang!" in my mind, and all the pieces feel into place and I was able to completely turn my back on everything religious, and I've never felt more free. With so much to process, my mind feels as though it is short-circuiting a bit; but I saw my psych nurse yesterday and spoke to her about it, and she told me to just sit with it. Basically, that means I'm to avoid further research on the topic for a little bit, and I have to focus my mind on other things so I can process. I have to work on two subjects at all times or else my mind rapidly picks up speed and I head towards an episode. Particularly because I find the topic of religion so interesting- its effects on a person psychologically and emotionally, its effects on decision making, its ability to make a person deny evidence and come up with illogical conclusions, and its own history and evolution. WAY too much interesting stuff to think about! But I will continue to compile a reading and viewing wishlist :)

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blackpudd1n, many thanks!

 

The day came when I realized that the antiquated notions of fundamentalism were inept in matters concerning body, mind and spirit.

 

That day came when I was able to locate the presence of that which heals on the soil of my own history.

 

For me the primary locus of the spirited life is in the viscera, not in ancient Israel.

 

The notion that obedience (intellectual or moral) to some external authority that testifies to having heard The Word or Is The Word, is the prerequisite for healing, is disingenuous at best.

 

I road that spurious notion to the brink of my own unmaking before I managed to 'lose' that notion and own my life.

 

It was 'in the midst' of my unmaking that I understood the grace which comes form the viscera, and which is available wherever beauty or tenderness or kindness or understanding or wisdom or truth may be found--in a human touch, in the salty taste of your on tears, in the sound and sober words of a therapist:

 

"The self has the capacity to intimately identify with a level of consciousness, become competent at that level and then disidentify with it and integrate it in order to step up to the next higher and wider sphere and identify with it (and so on until its capacity for growth is exhausted)." Ken Wilber

 

My best to you as you understand your capacity for treating, experiencing and appreciating your own life!

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Wow blackpudd1n, you seem to have seen the worst that fundamental Christianity has to offer! I also suffer with mental illness (depression) and the church nearly pushed me over the edge until I decided to do what I needed to do and get on meds.

Good for you to have such a level headed guy in your life.

 

Kinda funny, but my husband's nickname for me is Puddin' : )

 

tonya

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Wow blackpudd1n, you seem to have seen the worst that fundamental Christianity has to offer! I also suffer with mental illness (depression) and the church nearly pushed me over the edge until I decided to do what I needed to do and get on meds.

Good for you to have such a level headed guy in your life.

 

Kinda funny, but my husband's nickname for me is Puddin' : )

 

tonya

 

hey momof8,

 

I just finished reading your own extimony :)

 

I am lucky to have my fiancee, though I'd really appreciate it if his parents would stop dropping round uninvited! It's like they have a radar for when my house is a pigsty lol.

 

We call our cats puddins :) It started as a joke by my dad, when my older cat had to go on a diet he started calling him a puddin, and when our kitten came along, we named her Wednesday, but puddin just became her nickname. My older cat's name is Bruce- cutesy names have just never suited him, the furthest we usually go with nicknames for him is Bruce-us.Not that he approves lol :)

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Wow blackpudd1n, you seem to have seen the worst that fundamental Christianity has to offer! I also suffer with mental illness (depression) and the church nearly pushed me over the edge until I decided to do what I needed to do and get on meds.

Good for you to have such a level headed guy in your life.

 

Kinda funny, but my husband's nickname for me is Puddin' : )

 

tonya

 

hey momof8,

 

I just finished reading your own extimony smile.png

 

I am lucky to have my fiancee, though I'd really appreciate it if his parents would stop dropping round uninvited! It's like they have a radar for when my house is a pigsty lol.

 

We call our cats puddins smile.png It started as a joke by my dad, when my older cat had to go on a diet he started calling him a puddin, and when our kitten came along, we named her Wednesday, but puddin just became her nickname. My older cat's name is Bruce- cutesy names have just never suited him, the furthest we usually go with nicknames for him is Bruce-us.Not that he approves lol smile.png

 

 

People always stop by my house when it is a pigsty, never when it is clean lol

 

We are from South Louisiana and everyone has a nickname. I am so NOT the nickname type so dh found great humor in finding a fun one for me ;) Everyone calls me this now lol You have to say it in a heavy Cajun accent for full effect :D

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Welcome to the site, and thanks for offering up such frankness -- you've certainly had a hard journey.

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