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Help For Ex-new Age Or Occult Beliefs, Too?


struggling
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Hey there,

I am an ex-Christian -- first I was Roman Catholic and later I held some evangelical beliefs. Along the way while growing up I was also exposed to a lot of New Age beliefs of the scary variety so I've developed some phobias of psychic attacks from afar and demons that are able to interact with humans.

 

I've found a lot of resources online for deconverting from Christianity - it still hasn't fully left my system but I feel like I'm plugging along the best I can. With the New Age beliefs, it seems to be a tricky subject because many people don't see the harm in it as they can see about religions like Christianity.

 

I'm having a really hard time finding any kind of resources anywhere for help deconverting from occult or New Age beliefs. In fact, whenever I try to make a post about it, I nearly always get someone trying to tell me how the stuff I'm afraid of is really real and they try to tell me how great it is.

 

I hope you don't mind my posting this here, but I really just didn't know where else to turn for advice.

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Hi, Struggling! Welcome to the forums.

 

I'm not sure if this is the right section of the forum either, or if we're qualified to help out, or if there's another site that would be more beneficial. I am going to drop a note to the Moderators to ask for their input and suggestions.

 

I do think that deconversion from any strongly-held belief system will have similar psychological stages. It resembles Elizabeth Kubler-Ross's stages of dying in the earliest stages (disbelief, as in "I can't believe I did that!" and a lot of anger), but tends to diverge after that point.

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I hope you don't mind my posting this here, but I really just didn't know where else to turn for advice.

 

You are an ex-Christian so you belong here. Welcome to ex-C!

 

You know I have had a good amount of exposure to New Age, pseudo-Hinduism and Zen. However I don't know what to tell you because I never actually believed the spiritual aspects were real. When I was a Christian I just assumed they were were wrong about spiritual matters and I thought any health benefits they had were due to trial and error. For example I recognize Zen breathing as being healthy. It doesn't have to be for the same reasons Zen practitioners use to describe it. I mean that is Ki or Chi doesn't have to exist. But Zen masters have been practicing breathing for thousands of years and I'm sure they are very good at it.

 

Logic is one way out of the mess of false religious beliefs. You can examine why these beliefs don't make sense.

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De-converting from New Age beliefs? I'm confused. What is there to de-convert from? The notion we're gradually becoming more enlightened and open minded? New Age isn't a dogmatic system. If you don't believe it, there's no one who will try to drag you back into the fold.

 

As far as occult beliefs go, which ones?

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De-converting from New Age beliefs? I'm confused. What is there to de-convert from? The notion we're gradually becoming more enlightened and open minded? New Age isn't a dogmatic system. If you don't believe it, there's no one who will try to drag you back into the fold.

 

As far as occult beliefs go, which ones?

 

I completely disagree. The OP made it clear they have issues with recovering from the beliefs. Just because a religion doesn't have a structure in the traditional sense does not mean it can't harm people and leave scars in their lives. Moreover, you have no idea what type of psychological and other control this person may have personally had to deal with. A cult is a cult is a cult.

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Struggling, I think you will find most here will be able to empathize with your past experiences and current issues as there are many parallels between various forms of supernatural beliefs and the psychological control they can have over our minds and lives.

 

I hope you stick around.

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De-converting from New Age beliefs? I'm confused. What is there to de-convert from? The notion we're gradually becoming more enlightened and open minded? New Age isn't a dogmatic system. If you don't believe it, there's no one who will try to drag you back into the fold.

 

As far as occult beliefs go, which ones?

 

I completely disagree. The OP made it clear they have issues with recovering from the beliefs. Just because a religion doesn't have a structure in the traditional sense does not mean it can't harm people and leave scars in their lives. Moreover, you have no idea what type of psychological and other control this person may have personally had to deal with. A cult is a cult is a cult.

 

LMAO! Vigile coming hard tonight. But really, you're wrong on this. Breaking away from New Age is easy. Just look yourself in the mirror and promise yourself to stop believing in fairies, astrology, and crappy self help books. Breaking away from Christianity is much harder.

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LMAO! Vigile coming hard tonight. But really, you're wrong on this. Breaking away from New Age is easy. Just look yourself in the mirror and promise yourself to stop believing in fairies, astrology, and crappy self help books. Breaking away from Christianity is much harder.

 

Coming hard? Why don't I feel satisfied or crave a cigarette?

 

But back to the discussion, not sure you are being supportive, understanding or even logical here. You have no idea what this person's experiences were. Would you say the same to someone escaping Heaven's Gate? They were a new age cult and their followers believed it to a degree they literally drank the Koolaid. .

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Moved topic to ExChristian Life forum as this is started as more a discussion about struggles and questions with types of beliefs following leaving Christianity.

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You have no idea what this person's experiences were.

I'm snipping this part of what Vigile said because of this: if a person sets up any belief system as their support network, whether that's Christianity, Islam, or new age (whatever variety it happens to be), then breaking away from that can be difficult emotionally — even if there are no other people involved in that decision to break free.

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Struggling, Welcome to EX-c. I found a site that has tons of good reading on the cults. Stay with us awhile...... our stories and stuggles may help you to know you are not alone.

 

See if this helps any.....The most extensive scholarly site about New Religious Movements, under the direction of Prof. J.K. Hadden. This link will take you straight to its anti-cult movement page, but the whole site is worth visiting.

 

''The Religious Movements Project''

 

http://web.archive.o...b.virginia.edu/

 

Here's the 'map' to get around..........it's quite a large site;

 

http://web.archive.o...ies/sitemap.htm

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You have no idea what this person's experiences were. Would you say the same to someone escaping Heaven's Gate? They were a new age cult and their followers believed it to a degree they literally drank the Koolaid. .

I think the difficulty is in labeling any cult or new views as "New Age beliefs". That term seems a bucket term for anything "new" that people come up with but technically isn't New Age. I've had people try to label my views as New Age, which they are anything but that. The problem then is when you lump a Heaven's Gate cult into the category New Age (which is wasn't it), it makes all of New Age beliefs a threat, a danger, bad. That's what the Christians do in branding all their competitors as of the devil. It's a brash political charge.

 

You're talking across each other. I agree wholeheartedly that there are dangerous and harmful beliefs out there, but the point I wish to underscore is that it is not the beliefs themselves which are the problem. Rather it is the mentality of the people who are responsible for creating the beliefs in the first place, and the mentality of those who are attracted to them. People are attracted to these sorts of things because of some internal dysfunction. The charismatic individual amongst them will light the flame, and then all the moths in the area will fly straight into it. In this sense, New Age is not dangerous since you would have to claim all people who participate in it would suffer ill effects. You can't qualify that, and I'm pretty sure you would not be able to do so if you tried. Same thing with any religious belief. It all really depends on the individuals.

 

It's like saying all tools are bad because a dysfunctional person took a screwdriver and stuck it in someone's skull and killed them, or that someone cut their own wrists with one in a mad attempt to escape the pains of the world. Some tools are specifically designed as weapons however, and I agree with staying away from harmful weapons. But to say you are deconverting from tool-use wouldn't be an appropriate way to talk about your aversion to weaponry.

 

To help the OP I think the question should be what were the beliefs specifically, who was saying this, which group, etc? The question leads to what are we looking for, why did we look into those areas, why do want to change, etc. That gets to the heart of the matter, not shifting it onto some external culprit to place the blame on. Agree?

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Sorry to offend AM, but it seems you are more worried about protecting your own sacred cows (otherwise, why the long rant?) than worrying about what might be the issues of the person in the OP.

 

In my book, it's not an issue of good vs bad beliefs, but how those beliefs impact one's life. I take the OP at face value when they say they were harmed. This is a person who came to this site to get support and so far they've been poo poohed and now had their thread turned into a debate about the definition of good and bad New Age beliefs.

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Hey there,

I am an ex-Christian -- first I was Roman Catholic and later I held some evangelical beliefs. Along the way while growing up I was also exposed to a lot of New Age beliefs of the scary variety so I've developed some phobias of psychic attacks from afar and demons that are able to interact with humans.

 

Welcome to the forums! We would be happy to advise you.

 

It would be helpful to get some specific information as to where you ran across these beliefs that you now afraid of. As Antler pointed out "New Age" is like a big bucket full of ideas that in many cases are very much "old age".

 

I believe that the real task we all have to face in freeing ourselves from these ideas (ideas of other people) is to find out why we latched onto them in the first place. It isn't easy and it involves a process of self-discovery.

 

Demonic interaction with the human world is not an "occult" (meaning hidden) belief - it belongs to Christianity and is depicted in the Bible. It is also found in many other religions people do not usually think of as "occult."

 

I do believe in "psychic attacks from afar" are real in some rare cases. It doesn't scare me, but I have experienced it and it is a fact to me. That does not mean there are not remedies and there is no hope. I would rather not go into it further on the public forum but if you would like to discuss this with me in more detail, send me a private message.

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Sorry to offend AM, but it seems you are more worried about protecting your own sacred cows (otherwise, why the long rant?) than worrying about what might be the issues of the person in the OP.

You couldn't be more wrong. So far any criticisms I've heard of beliefs anywhere here don't come anywhere near my own, and outside that I can't say I hold them as sacred cows in the sense that I get all emotionally defensive of them. I hold my views with a wide open hand. I recognize the relative nature of them. However, what I said above specifically does deal with directing an appropriate question to the OP, as opposed to inappropriately shifting the focus to external beliefs. I raise it to you and others in the hope it helps you to help others by avoiding looking at the wrong culprits. The onus is in the individual.

 

You missed that?

 

In my book, it's not an issue of good vs bad beliefs, but how those beliefs impact one's life. I take the OP at face value when they say they were harmed.

So do I. How is it you missed my point?

 

This is a person who came to this site to get support and so far they've been poo poohed and now had their thread turned into a debate about the definition of good and bad New Age beliefs.

Not at all. As I said, it is about pointing a point on the issue, rather than broad-brush stroking. What exactly was being believed? Asking is that reflective of New Age beliefs (which I do not subscribe to myself, Vigile), or religion is general is an appropriate and important question to ask. I think jumping from one entire 'system' to another in hopes of finding salvation is a wrong approach. It isn't the system, or the category, it's the nature of the types of beliefs. What were those types of beliefs? Those types of beliefs can be found in any system, and so if you want to fix the problem you have to deal the types of beliefs, otherwise you just find those in any system - you name it.

 

I personally think to say "supernatural beliefs" are dangerous and to blame, is an error. Again, I don't believe in the supernatural, so it's not about me Vigile, it's the type of belief that causes problems. What does someone belief about the supernatural that makes it unhealthy and bad? I fully accept the OP has had a bad experience. Hopefully by asking these questions others can get to the real heart of the matter, not all this superficial external crap.

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I believe that the real task we all have to face in freeing ourselves from these ideas (ideas of other people) is to find out why we latched onto them in the first place. It isn't easy and it involves a process of self-discovery.

Bingo. Thank you.

 

 

Demonic interaction with the human world is not an "occult" (meaning hidden) belief - it belongs to Christianity and is depicted in the Bible. It is also found in many other religions people do not usually think of as "occult."

This is a phenomenally important observation you make! Yes. This whole 'dabbling' in the underworld of demons and whatnot in the West is basically Christianity with a perverse twist. Satanism is something started by Catholic priests. 'Dark forces' in other religions do not mean the same things as they do in the West influenced by the Christian myth. Meeting ones one 'demon' so to speak is an extension of ones own nature. It is for all intents and purposes ourselves: that part of us we bury and suppress out of fear. It's that Jungian shadow-persona, buried and hidden lurking in the shadows we don't want to look at.

 

But in the Western Christian cultures, demons are totally externalized. And those who try to conjure them up for purposes of seeking power over others are perverse and broken individuals. The entire demonic thing is the West is a perversion. God and demons are all these external 'beings' and not symbols of ourselves. It's really sad and unfortunate, IMO. The point of 'meeting ones demon', is to make yourself whole. We are both light and dark within us, and to accept that and integrate those energies into higher truth in us is to become balanced, steady, powerful for the force of healing and health. Such a different mindset. Such a different reality.

 

I do not accept any external forces that are not at the same time internal.

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Ok, I'll take what you say at face value too and not challenge it. I just stated what it seemed to me.

Well thank you. Why would you ever do otherwise?

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I wanted to add something for the OP in regards to "New Age" beliefs. Aside from the obvious negative experiences of this whole perverse demonism stuff you got exposed, there is a few important points you made I wish to add some thoughts to:

 

I've found a lot of resources online for deconverting from Christianity - it still hasn't fully left my system but I feel like I'm plugging along the best I can. With the New Age beliefs, it seems to be a tricky subject because many people don't see the harm in it as they can see about religions like Christianity.

A way I understand New Age beliefs (not of the demonic sort you mentioned), is that it really can be understood in essence to be basically a form of "experimental Christianity". It is essentially taking a Christian mentality of externalized forces and dabbling in this and that symbols of other religions, using the language as a sort of spiritual-sounding rhetoric without the actual depth of the ancient traditions to which they belong. At the heart of most all of it, is the Christian mind of a God or Goddess or Force, "out there" that you try to access, call down, appeal to, channel, etc, through all the various means of stones or crystals, or pyramids, or whatnot.

 

Now those things in themselves are not inappropriate when used as a tool, as a symbol to access something within. The problem lays in assigning to the magic powers. On the one hand you have symbolic aides to help you find something within and release that. On the other you have a literal magic object that has mysterious spooky properties that calls the external forces to you to give you their energies. It's a tricky fine line between literally believing in them, and visualizing them in a certain 'special' or sacred way as to open up that which is already inside you. A non-literal thinking person can recognize the difference and they can be 'useful' to them for that. A literal thinking person sees them the same way the Christian does, expecting something outside themselves, something magical, to give it to them. They are not looking within, and hence will always keep seeking the next magic pill to take to make them something more than the see themselves now.

 

This is Christianity. "God, give me, give me, give me... me, me, me." The focus is on ME. This is entirely why it will fail, and continue to bring them back begging and pleading and searching outside themselves for what can never be found there. The 'danger' of this comes squarely back to what we've been harping on in this thread. It is the approach, it is how we approach any belief, whether that is Christianity, New Age, Buddhism, Hinduism, Atheism, Secularism, Scientisim, Nationalism, etc. If we are looking for Answers with a capital A from some external source - we will not find it. If we are looking for Truth with a capital T from some external source - we will not find it. If we are looking for Salvation from some object or thing or person or belief or faith outside us - we will not find it.

 

The danger is not the belief - it's us. The salvation likewise - is not outside us. It is within us.

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But in the Western Christian cultures, demons are totally externalized. And those who try to conjure them up for purposes of seeking power over others are perverse and broken individuals. The entire demonic thing is the West is a perversion. God and demons are all these external 'beings' and not symbols of ourselves. It's really sad and unfortunate, IMO. The point of 'meeting ones demon', is to make yourself whole. We are both light and dark within us, and to accept that and integrate those energies into higher truth in us is to become balanced, steady, powerful for the force of healing and health. Such a different mindset. Such a different reality.

 

I do not accept any external forces that are not at the same time internal.

 

I would agree with much of what you write here. However, I do think there is some room for thinking that in Christianity demons are not "totally external". There is this idea that one can "open oneself to demonic influence". That there are in fact external demons, but they cannot act without being given some form of permission, and maybe permission isn't the right word exactly, but some ability develops in a person to open them to the influence of demons. I actually heard this in church, not in my occult explorations.

 

I think that there are spirits, both beneficial and demonic, that attach themselves to places and in rare instances, people. It is both external and internal. I would not state this if I didn't experience it personally, and I can't "prove it" to most people's satisfaction. I am very reluctant to say a particular situation is definitely demons - (my definition of demons are negative spiritual forces) - in another person's life, but there was a period of years where such a force was acting on me. At the time, it was plain as day to me. Of course my background and conditioning plays a part in my perceptions, I don't deny that.

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welcome to Ex-C, Struggling :)

 

There may be others better than myself to answer your question, But I will try to answer it as best I can with as much respect for it as possible.

 

You may have noticed I call myself an "atheist with a soft spot for paganism". With the pagan side of things, the first question is, which tradition of paganism? The answer is Celtic. So first and foremost, this is my area of understanding. Now, the Celtic tradition of paganism, on the whole, seems quite nice. BUT, and there is a but, some people feel the need to turn it into a damaging religious thought-process. I'm not saying you have yourself, just that you may have been presented with a skewered version of whatever New Age stuff you got into, which may have caused the anguish you currently find yourself in.

 

Some occult, for want of a better word, practices I don't want a bar of, simply because they are focused on negative energy, negative emotions, and vengeful practices.

 

it's kind of hard, because I really need more information to go on You are more than welcome to pm me if you'd like to discuss this further. :)

 

I did want to add, though, that I hadn't deconverted before I started learning about paganism, and that really messed with my head. I felt as though I had two thought processes going on- my christian one,which I didn't like, but couldn't seem to get rid of, and my pagan worldview, which I preferred, but the christian thought process didn't like and considered evil. It was a truly awful experience, and one that didn't leave me until I first deconverted fully- ie. got my head around some fundamentals like the bible was written by men, christianity is a joke, there is no hell, and I don't like the christian god- he's an arsehole. Now I did not have a bad experience with paganism, but realising my propensity for extremism, I have opted to sit on the fence, and henceforth call myself an atheist with a soft spot for christianity. For me, this means I simply approach atheism with a pagan worldview. I am comfortable with that, and the dual thought process has since stopped.

 

I don't know if any of this has been much help; your issue is a complex one, but also a valid one. Anything can be made legalistic, regardless of the title given to it. I do hope you might stick around for a while :)

 

Pudd :)

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But in the Western Christian cultures, demons are totally externalized. And those who try to conjure them up for purposes of seeking power over others are perverse and broken individuals. The entire demonic thing is the West is a perversion. God and demons are all these external 'beings' and not symbols of ourselves. It's really sad and unfortunate, IMO. The point of 'meeting ones demon', is to make yourself whole. We are both light and dark within us, and to accept that and integrate those energies into higher truth in us is to become balanced, steady, powerful for the force of healing and health. Such a different mindset. Such a different reality.

 

I do not accept any external forces that are not at the same time internal.

 

I would agree with much of what you write here. However, I do think there is some room for thinking that in Christianity demons are not "totally external". There is this idea that one can "open oneself to demonic influence". That there are in fact external demons, but they cannot act without being given some form of permission, and maybe permission isn't the right word exactly, but some ability develops in a person to open them to the influence of demons. I actually heard this in church, not in my occult explorations.

This is still thinking in dualist terms. Even though someone says someone can 'open themselves up' to demonic influence, that demon 'entering into them' is still, an external demon. I am saying that that demon is you, yourself, not some other entity "out there". It may be sensed 'outside us', only because of a psychological thing we do to externalize something of ourselves to objectify it in order to look at it. We split it off from inside us and see it, sense it, react to it as "not us", when it is in reality very much 'us'. Fear is what motivates us to push it outside us as 'not me'. We fear that nature, and so we objectify and personify it will all sorts of imagined creepiness and destructive powers. We then empower it through that fear. It is created by us as we push it from us.

 

So when the Christian says in their jarring ignorance, "If you mediate - you are being hypnotized and open to devils influencing you with their dark suggestions, or even having one possess you!", the entire thought aside from being dead wrong, is based on this dualistic idea of reality. Even if in their myth, the demon jumps inside you, it is still dualistic. It is still a separation of you and other, you and demon, regardless of where positionally the two may reside. It is still two; not one and the selfsame. I say one and the selfsame, objectified symbolically as external. Same thing with God. We project and imagine God as other to self.

 

I think that there are spirits, both beneficial and demonic, that attach themselves to places and in rare instances, people. It is both external and internal.

If all is One, how is there other? These are all projections on a wall, aren't they?

 

I would not state this if I didn't experience it personally, and I can't "prove it" to most people's satisfaction. I am very reluctant to say a particular situation is definitely demons - (my definition of demons are negative spiritual forces) - in another person's life, but there was a period of years where such a force was acting on me. At the time, it was plain as day to me. Of course my background and conditioning plays a part in my perceptions, I don't deny that.

Very much your background plays a part in how you both experience and understand these things. I too may experience a 'dark presence', but I recognize that as a projection of either my anxieties or fears. They are me, objectified and externalized. Yes you 'experience' them, that is the point. They make themselves manifest to you through your subconscious mind, from your subconscious mind to your conscious mind. They are highly symbolic in this way, coming from the subconscious.

 

How the conscious mind processes and understands, rejects or integrates them, is a matter of your conscious structures of understanding and/or training. The training you got was from Christianity. "Bad, evil, pray to Jesus to make them go away, get away from me dark lord! God will defeat you!", sort of complete dualistic mythology. In nondualism, this is resolved in an entirely different manner than Jesus Christ's feet splitting the world in two and he crushes these things under foot. They're melded into one; pairs of opposites become dissolved in unity - not defeat. They are defeated only in the sense of being transformed.

 

This is one major reason why Christianity and all it's child religions in the West who think in terms like this will always and ever be riding that same merry-go-round. You can't get off in dualism.

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This is still thinking in dualist terms. Even though someone says someone can 'open themselves up' to demonic influence, that demon 'entering into them' is still, an external demon. I am saying that that demon is you, yourself, not some other entity "out there".

If all is One, how is there other? These are all projections on a wall, aren't they?

 

 

Of course its dualistic, but you are speaking from the absolute level of reality, and I am talking relative reality and from my feelings. On the absolute level, none of this exists, including the "self" much less another demonic entity. "I" face the fact that "I" am not there yet.

 

All I wanted to say that I see the demonic influence as a sort of cooperative thing and not purely a total outside influence separate and apart from "you" that takes over.

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Along the way while growing up I was also exposed to a lot of New Age beliefs of the scary variety so I've developed some phobias of psychic attacks from afar and demons that are able to interact with humans.

 

Time and support are key. Fear is a powerful thing but it can be overcome. It is nothing more than a response to a degree of mental conditioning. It won't be easy and will take a lot of effort and courage but you can do this. Many people here have. They succeeded, so can you.

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