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Catholic School Nightmare


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Hi! I'm new to this forum and would like to share my thoughts with you. I was raised in a Catholic family but my family wasn't really religious. We went to church a couple of time a year, we never prayed or were religious in any kind. I could say my family raised me more in a secular way then religious, although I thought of myself as a Christian. They thought me to think critically, not to believe something just because somone said so, to believe the evidence, they thought me that everything has a rational explanation etc. Anyway, I decided to go to Catholic high school. I though it was a better option because they said students were not just a number for them, primarly they were human. The first year in that school was ok, we evan got chocolates and candy for Christmas. But the second year I started to notice the hypocricy, they were all acting so holy, but I could sense evilness inside them (I'm talking about the nuns). I also started to have numerous arguments with my colleagues about God and religion. They called me a non believer, they made me feel so wrong and sinful. So, little by little, I deided to conform. I started to prey and noncritically believe everything they said. I was kind of brainwashing myself. But I thought it's a good thing, that I am becoming a better person. Then after about a year I had like somekind of nervous breakdown or anxiety attack, I'm not really sure what it was. I was so scared of all that, of God, and most of all I was afraid of losing myself. I was afraid of what I have become. I was a stranger to myself. As we learned more and more about Christianity I got more and more scared. The sister would tell us about Satan, Satanistic music etc. I'm scared evan now when I remember it. She would tell us about exorcism and how one girl was possessed by Devil, when they prayed her skin turned black (she was white) and her nose turned into a nose of a cobra! I know it sounds ridicilous but that's what she's been telling us and we were all so frightend.

Our religious class was like this: she would dictate us what to write and we should know that word by word. We weren't allowed to use our own words. We had to know by heart all the books in the Bible and their abbrevations. She was intimidationg us. She was tall, big, dark hair, strict and her look was so cold.

It has passed 5 years since than but I still haven't cleared it all in my head. I went to a psychologist also, but she didn't fully understand me, although she did quite help me.

In my opinion, Catholic schools are not good because they are not teaching children to think critically, when they accept one thing uncritically, they can accept everything uncritically. Their upbringing is unbalanced, instead of growing up as a whole human beings they grow up as unwhole. (I like the Marlene Winells workshop: From holy to whole.) They aren't though to develop their creativity, instead they are though to supress it and to conform. They are not though to think for themselves, to make decisions, instead they are thought to let "God" make decisions for them etc. What is your opinion? Does anyone have a similar experience? Has anyone managed to fully recover from it?

Thanks!

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I went to a fundamentalist christian school from k-12. I definitely agree that it affects one's decision making abilities. So much emphasis on "god's will," "the lord's timing," etc. It really over complicates things, and causes people to lose trust in themselves. In that setting we are taught to think so lowly of ourselves and our human nature that I think a lot of christian kids grow up really hating themselves. Many teenagers experience angst, but it can become so life and death when you are immersed 24/7 in Jesus culture. Such extreme highs and lows. I felt paralyzed by pretty much every decision... not good.

I think creativity is also very stifled in a christian education setting, unless it is directed towards worship. My christian school was very small and there was little to no opportunity or classes in which to experience art or music. The homeschoolers put more emphasis on that though....

It's hard sometimes not to become upset when i think about the things I was taught as "fact." We once had a teacher trying to cast demons out of vacuum cleaner that kept shutting on and off (she was completely serious). A kid in the corner was plugging and unplugging it, hilarious.

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its part of their security complexs just to assume rather than think.

 

you see all religion is is a security system for people handed to each generation ever since Homo sappiens existed, since the fear of death. there are sub concious mechanisms that do not allow them to think based on their own comfort needs. the religion feeds off identity complex and survival systems they really cant think for themselves unless their intelect can over power it.

 

you are very lucky to have parents that taught that to you (how to think), i had to learn the hard way how to think on my own through my own self education.

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I went to a fundamentalist christian school from k-12. I definitely agree that it affects one's decision making abilities. So much emphasis on "god's will," "the lord's timing," etc. It really over complicates things, and causes people to lose trust in themselves. In that setting we are taught to think so lowly of ourselves and our human nature that I think a lot of christian kids grow up really hating themselves. Many teenagers experience angst, but it can become so life and death when you are immersed 24/7 in Jesus culture. Such extreme highs and lows. I felt paralyzed by pretty much every decision... not good.

I think creativity is also very stifled in a christian education setting, unless it is directed towards worship. My christian school was very small and there was little to no opportunity or classes in which to experience art or music. The homeschoolers put more emphasis on that though....

It's hard sometimes not to become upset when i think about the things I was taught as "fact." We once had a teacher trying to cast demons out of vacuum cleaner that kept shutting on and off (she was completely serious). A kid in the corner was plugging and unplugging it, hilarious.

 

 

Remove "fundamentalist" for "adventist" at high school and "generic Christian" for primary (I never picked up the denomination of that school, but I'd hazard a guess at leaning towards pentecostal) and that's my story too. I remember in Year/Grade 8 praying that the Civil Union Bill wouldn't get passed through parliament (praying for the politicians to have "wisdom" as my teacher called it). For fuck's sakes, I was 13, and no 13yo should ever have an opinion about gay marriage. Same deal with my 10yo cousin voting on a Facebook poll about abortion. It's not his opinion that upset me, that's his prerogative, but that he has an opinion about it at all. Again, he's 10!

 

It really is difficult un-learning everything you've been taught, because you're learning everything in your most formative years. I'm glad I spent the last two years in very different yet both secular student halls because they've both given me such a different perspective on life and it was only though those two places that I was able to see just how limited my religious upbringing really was.

 

Personally, I'm surprised that depression rates aren't higher among Christians, since you're taught from the offset how undeserving you are of God's infinite love.

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My experience was quite different. I went to a Catholic high school run by the Brothers of the Sacred Heart because it's one of the best schools in my area. Other than the once-a-month school mass, a retreat, and the enforcement of conservative culture (hair, dress, general attitude, etc.) their wasn't much indoctrination. The whole conservative thing was a mindfuck for me personally, but it came from the secular administration, the money-donating alumni, and the general culture of the area. The brothers themselves are just nice people. I was taught all the standard stuff plus church history (what we've done wrong), bible studies (mostly where OT stories come from), and even a short course in logic during third-year religion class. The only "leave it to God" stuff I remember came from my Church's youth group and some of the Catholic moms.

I'm sorry to hear that you had such a bad experience. I know that some of the nuns are still stuck in the terrible old ways. My elementary school hosted a small convent of nuns from Spain, and I had heard stories about back when hitting a student was legal. Do you know what order the nuns from your school belong to?

 

My general opinion is that there are some, if not many, bad Catholic schools, but there are good ones too. They don't have to stifle critical thought, especially if the teachers embrace the Vatican II progressive mindset. I just hope that the bad ones can manage to change.

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Yeah we would start each school day with a pledge to the American flag, the bible, AND the christian flag. It was supposed to be a reward to be one of the kids holding the flag or bible. I also remember the pastor's family (and friend of my parents) was babysitting my brother and I and we had to walk in a protest outside an abortion clinic holding one of those gross signs. A lady drove by and screamed "who wants to adopt a crack baby!" Later on I felt pretty used by these exercises. My mom worked for an agency that was the christian answer to planned parenthood. Abortion was a big deal, there were no opinions. Just right vs wrong, good vs evil. Thank I was pretty overdosed on the whole thing by college and went to secular university.

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I went to a fundamentalist christian school from k-12. I definitely agree that it affects one's decision making abilities. So much emphasis on "god's will," "the lord's timing," etc. It really over complicates things, and causes people to lose trust in themselves. In that setting we are taught to think so lowly of ourselves and our human nature that I think a lot of christian kids grow up really hating themselves. Many teenagers experience angst, but it can become so life and death when you are immersed 24/7 in Jesus culture. Such extreme highs and lows. I felt paralyzed by pretty much every decision... not good.

I think creativity is also very stifled in a christian education setting, unless it is directed towards worship. My christian school was very small and there was little to no opportunity or classes in which to experience art or music. The homeschoolers put more emphasis on that though....

It's hard sometimes not to become upset when i think about the things I was taught as "fact." We once had a teacher trying to cast demons out of vacuum cleaner that kept shutting on and off (she was completely serious). A kid in the corner was plugging and unplugging it, hilarious.

 

 

 

Remove "fundamentalist" for "adventist" at high school and "generic Christian" for primary (I never picked up the denomination of that school, but I'd hazard a guess at leaning towards pentecostal) and that's my story too. I remember in Year/Grade 8 praying that the Civil Union Bill wouldn't get passed through parliament (praying for the politicians to have "wisdom" as my teacher called it). For fuck's sakes, I was 13, and no 13yo should ever have an opinion about gay marriage. Same deal with my 10yo cousin voting on a Facebook poll about abortion. It's not his opinion that upset me, that's his prerogative, but that he has an opinion about it at all. Again, he's 10!

 

It really is difficult un-learning everything you've been taught, because you're learning everything in your most formative years. I'm glad I spent the last two years in very different yet both secular student halls because they've both given me such a different perspective on life and it was only though those two places that I was able to see just how limited my religious upbringing really was.

 

Personally, I'm surprised that depression rates aren't higher among Christians, since you're taught from the offset how undeserving you are of God's infinite love.

 

I meant my above post to be in response to this. New, sorry :) Also i think depression rates are higher than one might think. In a lot of christian circles depression is God or the devil "testing" you. Or some kind of shortcoming of faith. I see a lot of it from the christians on facebook. Especially in pentecostal churches it is seems to be part of their extreme up and downs, or what they see as their walk with the Lord. (read Jesus delivering etc). Peak and release, back down into the valley. A lot of great musicians do it... and so do the christians in their worship music.

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My general opinion is that there are some, if not many, bad Catholic schools, but there are good ones too. They don't have to stifle critical thought, especially if the teachers embrace the Vatican II progressive mindset. I just hope that the bad ones can manage to change.

We were taught told to think critically, to find our own conclusions and to experience the Holy Spirit for ourselves for the relationship with the Lood Gord to actually be meaningful. I say told and not taught, because with one hand we would laugh at/pity cultists in the way they got manipulated and we were told to read the bible regularly and all; but we were also taught to read it a specific way, to use our talents for the glory of God's Kingdom, and that the wrong kind of free thinking leads to heresy most vile.

 

Granted, this attitude varied from teacher to teacher (I remember preaching before the rest of the school on tolerance which got mixed feedback from my teachers), but I remember some of the school's doctrines not sitting well even among the students. One time a few students got in an argument with a younger teacher about how literally Leviticus should be taken (remember that Adventists practically live by that book). Likewise, I once told my pastor that I thought God was kind of a dick to Job, and he laughed and asked which version of the bible I was reading. Anyway, my point is that while they encouraged free thought and forming your own conclusions, it was implied, or in some cases outright stated, what those conclusions had to be. A "good" Christian school may not be all it seems.

 

I meant my above post to be in response to this. New, sorry :) Also i think depression rates are higher than one might think. In a lot of christian circles depression is God or the devil "testing" you. Or some kind of shortcoming of faith. I see a lot of it from the christians on facebook. Especially in pentecostal churches it is seems to be part of their extreme up and downs, or what they see as their walk with the Lord. (read Jesus delivering etc). Peak and release, back down into the valley. A lot of great musicians do it... and so do the christians in their worship music.

No worries, and welcome aboard. To both you and Sunny49.

 

Thankfully my family got out of the pentecostal church before (or maybe shortly after) I turned 10 so I can't speak too much for those guys, my experience with the bretheren and adventists is more like what I said earlier, that we were told how bad we were and that we didn't deserve salvation. You might be on to something, though, in that there's certainly incentive there to keep feelings of being a bad Christian under wraps, accounting for why they're not so immediately observable.

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First, I'd like to apologize for my english, I come from a non english speaking country.

 

Curious, yes, creativity is encouraged only if it has something to do with worship. One nun in our school would tell a girl to take of her necklace which in her opinion wasn't catholic (it was just a normal necklace). When I finished that school I couldn't make ONE decision on my own...I was so frightend to make a mistake, to do something wrong. I also remebmer the nun telling us, quoting the Bible: " If only you were hot or cold, but you are limp, God says he would spit you out of his mouth!" Disgusting and frightend! I really thought God hates me!

 

"We once had a teacher trying to cast demons out of vacuum cleaner that kept shutting on and off (she was completely serious). A kid in the corner was plugging and unplugging it, hilarious." OMG!! Hahaha!

 

I really cannot imagine how can they do something like that to young people. Instead of giving them optimism, hope and confidence for the future they feed them with such a crap and ruining all their wish for life with constant telling you can't do this, you can't do that, this is satanic, this is dangerous. Only negative stuff! And what about learning from my experience? What about maturing in my own pace? I wanna have my own life!

 

Kaiser 01, I think religion is a very good thing for people who cannot think for themselves, who aren't creative and who are ok with it. Who like to be told what to do and just go with the flow. It is definately not for individuals.

Inqui, yes we too weren't allowd to express our own opinions, if you did you were "Thomas - the unbeliever". One girl from my class told me, in the middle of our argument: "Do you really believe that a baby is made when a sperm and an egg cell connect/merge?" and I said " Of course" and she started laughing at me and said: "No, God does that!" I came home and started to cry. I couldn't take it anymore! They were so making a fool out of me! What did she mean by that?

CatholiKitty, ironically, they belonged to the order "Sisters of Mercy". I still haven't figured out that mercy thing. :)

Fee, you are American? I think American christians are evan worse then European. I don't know about the depression but all the Christians I know are not depresed at all!

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"you are very lucky to have parents that taught that to you (how to think), i had to learn the hard way how to think on my own through my own self education."

 

 

Maybe I am, but still I feel so insecure. My mind tells me own thing and my emotions (fear mostly) another. I evan returned to Catholicism years after, just out of fear, depression and the feeling of inadequacy and that anxiety attack came back, but then it was evan worse! I really feel manipulated by them, with fear and guilt. They made me so dependant. I just want to be myself again. :(

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I went to a Christian junior high and senior high (in America) and while they had students from a lot of different denominations, they preached the hard-core, believe in Jesus or be sent to hell, message. My husband went to a Catholic high school and he said this one actually did teach critical thinking and a somewhat liberal view of Church history, which was surprising.

 

I'm glad, Sunny49, that you realize what happened to you and are now recovering. Hang in there, it will get better.

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Thanks, Evelyn! I hope it gets better....although sometimes I still think: What if everything they said was true? But then I think....I will never know that...we canot know what happens after death, we cannot know are all the stories about Jesus true...but we must do what we believe it's true, we cannot do something only out of fear. We have to be strong :)

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Christianity (and every other religion I have encountered) is just a psychological virus. Once you've had a dose of it, you can never get rid of it totally in my opinion, although it gets more and more insignificant with time to the point where it can either be ridiculed or ignored. People on this forum are very helpful - and hilarious.

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You mean like mem? Yes, I agree with that. Small doses of religion are actually really profound and longlasting. Unfortunately.

Do you know any good books to read about this subject? I've read Richard Dawkins: The God Delusion and starting to read now: Religion as a natural phenomenon - Daniell Dennet...I also like Richard Dawkins' documentaries, they are very good.

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Hi Sunny! I didn't grow up catholic but I wasn't taught to think for myself, either. My upbringing was very black and white- either things were good or evil. Since deconverting (even before I fully became an ex-c) I started realizing that the world is not black or white. I still am very much controlled by what I was taught even though I'm out of the xtian faith. For example, I was taught that any movie other than a "G" or "PG" rating is sinful. Even now, when I look at a movie rating and see "R" my mind automatically thinks "sinful movie." It sucks. I watch whatever I want but that knee-jerk reaction is still with me.

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Hi, Mudhoney! Yes, I understand you. In high school we had lectures about satanism in music, about the hidden messages etc. I got so scared I couldn't listen to music anymore. I was afraid it would affect me negatively in some way, that it would make me do things I don't want to, or I would listen to it but could never relax, I was always thinking about the lyrics, what are they singing, what is the message of the song, are they persuading us to do something sinful etc. It was awful for me because I really love music, I attended music school and wrote my own songs. They ruined it all for me.

Now I realize that it can't affect me negatively because I have control over myself, people are not robots who do things without thinking about them, it is really not that easy to make someone do something, but they made me believe it is.

 

Christianity presents itself as "light" in the world, but I think it's nothing but a big dark hole with no end.

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