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This Is Me!


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HI all, I have been a member here for over a year, but this is my first post. I was brought up in a non Christian home, but became a Christian at age 11 as a way of dealing with childhood depression and terror of death (I was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 35, but am successfully stable on meds). I was influenced by a teacher, a lovely man who was brethren and extremely fundamentalist. Fear of hell and the need to avoid it was juxtaposed with a loving God who was my father. I served this ambivalent God for 35 years,

I became a health professional and was passionate about helping others and this really caused conflict in my faith as I knew that so many of those that I was helping would go to an eternity of suffering- as they were unbelievers. However, my fear of hell kept me from openly questioning.

I was part of churches that were very charismatic. I became involved in leadership (pastoral), and I loved the feeling of a personal relationship with God and the worship, my faith was very real to me, and God 'felt' good despite my fears about hell etc.

It so happened that a number of the churches my husband and i were involved in went off the rails and many people were abused and hurt. We were often the whistle blowers and helped pick up the pieces. We left our last Church 5 and a half years ago, and it has been a long painful journey.

I do not go to church now, although I acknowledge a spiritual hunger still. I had a period of extreme trauma re the Hell stuff and received EMDR therapy which helped me get over the deep rooted spiritual abuse and trauma- although I am still scared of death, and I feel awful that my eldest (14) is an atheist through all she has witnessed from church and that our youngest (8) is not a believer. It has taken a year for me to feel safe enough to post rather than lurk. I would love to find a gentle faith that keeps the positive and rejects the negative- but I can't seem to find one without the other. Once Christianity gets deconstructed, it all seems to fall, and it feels dishonest to pick and choose.

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Hello Tassie, and welcome, good to meet you on here. I too am an ex-charismatic. Welcome to the club.

 

You may know already that some other folks here have bipolar, too. A gentle faith that keeps the positive and rejects the negative - sounds wonderful. I don't think the Bible can be the basis of that!! Some people have found other faiths to be worthy - I think Buddhism, and there are a few pagans. My reaction to what you say about your eldest is to think that you should NOT feel awful that she is an atheist. Is she an atheist out of a spirit of integrity? If so I think it's a tribute to her parents that she won't buy into a belief system that she thinks is not true.

 

I want to know about your pets! And what subjects are you studying?

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hi Tassie! And welcome to EX-c. I am so glad you came out of the shadows! Thank you for sharing your story. Just knowing that another human understands, means everything in the world to me. I hope you gain the comfort that you are searching for here.

I certainly understand how the 'helping' professions can steal your faith. My job as a hairdresser helped to destroy my faith. I had all those hard questions in the back of my head about the bible and god, but add hearing everyday for 38 years, what I have heard in my life behind that chair.....Wendytwitch.gif ....anybody would lose their faith. Some of the stuff I have listened to has actually caused me 'Secondary Post Traumatic Stress Disorder' because of the horror stories I have heard over a lifetime.

 

This place has been my sanctuary for long time. As far as finding a gentle faith that 'keeps the positive and rejects the negative'..... I don't believe that there is any such thing because of the polarity of nature being good and evil, positive and negative. I've just become comfortable trying to accept that fact. I practiced 'gentle' with all my friends last night. I didn't offer any of my opinions, I didn't speak any judgementle statements and just 'loved on them'. That felt pretty good.

 

I sure hope you'll be one of my new friends. Keep posting all your concerns and fears.....We're all here for you!

 

Sincerely, Margee

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Hi Tassie. Am glad you finally decided to post! The fear of hell was a big part of my relationship with God, especially as a kid growing up. What really helped me get over the fear was studying the origin of hell.

 

I do not go to church now, although I acknowledge a spiritual hunger still. I had a period of extreme trauma re the Hell stuff and received EMDR therapy which helped me get over the deep rooted spiritual abuse and trauma- although I am still scared of death, .... I would love to find a gentle faith that keeps the positive and rejects the negative- but I can't seem to find one without the other. Once Christianity gets deconstructed, it all seems to fall, and it feels dishonest to pick and choose.

 

The good news is you don't have to be religious to have your spiritual hunger needs met. It took me quite a while to realize that those two things are completely separate categories. There are even spiritual atheists. What is working for me is broadly called "naturalistic spirituality", but the great news is that once you leave the prison cell of Christianity and being told how you have to think, you are free to follow your heart.

 

All of Christianity does their fair share of picking and choosing what they believe. I suppose the closest thing to following the Bible "fully" is the bunch of idiots that we have over here at the Westboro Baptist Church. Others seem quite happy in progressive Christianity, which certainly picks and chooses, and isn't stuck in literal interpretations. As mentioned earlier, you're now free to follow your heart.

 

Welcome to Ex-C.

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Hi Tassie,

 

I'm from the UK too. Your "This is Me" subject heading sounds suspiciously like Mike Yarwood's catchphrase from the 70s!

 

Glad you finally realised the flaws in Xianity and acted on it. Don't feel bad about this. You had the courage and self-respect to stand up for yourself. And stand up for basic decency and reason.

 

I too had a spiritual hunger after leaving the faith. I got into some New Agey stuff which I still quite like but I don't think it's true anymore. The truth is we don't know what happens to us when we die. It depends on my mood what I think. I'm a bag fan of saying "I don't know" when I really don't know. All we can do in life is our best. Everyone else is in the same boat.

 

If there is an afterlife (which I doubt) then I would rather enter it having been honest with myself and used reason and evidence to reach my conclusions - instead of following a particular crowd into the madhouse that is Xianity.

 

Hope you enjoy the site.

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Hi Tassie, I found the emptiness without religion, too. So I went back to school, took a couple of science classes and opened my eyes. Reality, and the scientific nature of the universe is far greater than any religion and actually far more comforting. Give me the truth, straight up. No spinning required.

 

In science I have discovered that the universe recycles everything. Eventually, we return as atoms of another being, parts of us go on as long as there's is a universe. Also, there is a very good possibility--a lot will come from the Higgs -Boson discovery--that because of the nature of particles and their ability to exist in two places at once, the possibility for another you is already there.

 

If the universe is infinite, you are copied nd repeated over and over because of the laws of repetition in nature. If the universe is not finite, then that means there are very likely other universes with copies of you.

 

The more I study science--I will never stop-- the more comfort I find in the whole life and death process. Life happens, we are recycled, and, who knows? In infinity we may all exist with out all the mistakes we've made. We also may never pass this way again, so grab every minute and be happy you were lucky enough to be alive and learn, because it makes you happy.

 

Leaving religion and accepting critical thinking is the most peaceful thing I have ever done for myself. It also made me kinder and much more empathic with those I used to point at and think :'Sinner.' I realize now I only hurt myself, so I try not to be so judgmental of others because most of us feel or have felt the same pains of being afraid of death. Overcome that, and you will soar.

 

Hope you can find something in this to help you on your journey. Peace.

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Thanks for the warm welcome guys, it means a lot! I guess my fears for my children is based on a very deep seated indoctrination about hell, and the fact I came to faith originally while very depressed as a kid with a terror of death and hell. It took a while before I would have kids, as my fear as a believer was that they would not believe, and I could not bear to think what that meant. I could see that this was screwy, even when a believer, and chose to believe in annihilation, but part of me still thought ' what if' I guess there is still a residual fear that comes back at times for my kids. My logic tells me that if there is a God, then he is only worth knowing if he is good. It is ridiculous that he/she should be less compassionate than me.- so traditional Christianity does not make any sense for me at all any more.

I also find that many years very stable on medication has resulted in less 'spiritual' experiences. I am still unravelling what may have been real and what may not have been.

Pets... We have two cats, two dogs, two chickens and a tortoise! (and two girls).

 

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