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A thought occurred to me this morning (not that it is an unusual event):  My parents raised me in fear.  I don’t mean that they instilled fear in me; I mean that they were afraid when they were raising me.  They were afraid that I would reject jesus.  They were afraid that their beliefs were false.  They were afraid that jesus wouldn’t be all he was cracked up to be and that his plan for my life would be a disaster.

 

They never voiced these fears, of course; and would deny them if ever asked.  But their actions demonstrated that fear motivated them.  This is why they were so forceful in my indoctrination, why they were so adamant that I believe and accept it all.  It was fear that drove them to physically punish me whenever I expressed any doubt.  It was fear that led them to micro-manage every aspect of my life, including my thoughts.  They pushed me away from religion ultimately, by pushing me too hard toward it.  And it was because they were afraid I’d reject it that they raised me in such a way that would leave little alternative.

 

Bless their hearts.

 

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I think fear is the main motor of human actions. So many people don't even look for a better job because they fear rejection. Or don't try to open up a business because they fear financial failure. Or not even thinking about something else they could do that would need some training and education because they fear they where too old to actually find work in that field when done with their degree...

 

And fear combined with religion leads to manipulation in a wider scale. Every church operates with guilt and shame that addresses the fear that sits deep down in everyone. When I left church I had people telling me I needed brothers and sisters on my way or I would die...spiritually speaking of course. I needed community...

And yes I feel lonely a lot but it is not the end of the world. I also know that there are enough possibilities to meet with people if I wanted to. But I also know that there needs to be taken care of some real deep fears of myself first that somehow hold me back to really bond with others in a healthy way.

 

When I talk with people about this topic, they usually can't see what I mean. But I can see the way they live and how they talk. I just had a friend visiting who lives far away and only visits about twice a year. We went hiking and it was very exhausting. Not the hike but her. Because our original plan didn't work out we had to put our car somewhere else and do another route. Her first fear was that we would not be hiking much...then she decided the rest of the hike and her fear was, that she would not be able to make it (she carried her 15 month old daughter on her back). Finally we came close to a train station and her fear was, there was no train and so she obsessed about thinking of a plan B. I told her, we could work that out when we where there and there would be no train for real. At the end it all went fine because yes, there was no train but there was a road close by and a lot of friendly people driving cars and one of them took us back to where we started out. And all that fear of her was for nothing. But how do you tell someone?

 

My parents too are very fear driven. My dad still believes his business would collapse when he would take a longer vacation. He complains about his company and how it was not going too well etc. But he still drives a BMW, lives in a huge house, has a wife (my mom) who works a little but more out of boredom and fun then need and they have two more cars sitting in the garage...It was that way all the time since I was little. My mom still shops at the cash and carry and looks for special offers. And she hardly ever gets some nice cloths at a nice store. Everything needs to be cheap.

 

My parents have not been pushy with their faith but it was in the air that they expected us to stick with it and also there was major disappointment about my brothers not believing anymore. They never really addressed it but it was in the air. And all their expectations. They where so afraid to be unmasked as not to be that happy family that has everything together etc. When I was done with my apprenticeship and did not find a job for a few moths they treated me as if I was involved in some serious crime or consumed drugs or so. They always have been afraid that I would be lazy. And when I became unemployed it was their confirmation of that fear.

 

My mom once said she was afraid we would become arrogant and that was why she kept encouragement for herself instead of letting us know we did good on something.

My dad once told me, when I came into their family as a foster child, he was afraid of getting to love me too much in case they could not keep me...

 

I think fear is responsible for most suffering on this planet. Or maybe I need to add not facing fear is. I mean, fear is natural and needed in certain cases.

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A thought occurred to me this morning (not that it is an unusual event): My parents raised me in fear. I don’t mean that they instilled fear in me; I mean that they were afraid when they were raising me. They were afraid that I would reject jesus. They were afraid that their beliefs were false. They were afraid that jesus wouldn’t be all he was cracked up to be and that his plan for my life would be a disaster.

 

They never voiced these fears, of course; and would deny them if ever asked. But their actions demonstrated that fear motivated them. This is why they were so forceful in my indoctrination, why they were so adamant that I believe and accept it all. It was fear that drove them to physically punish me whenever I expressed any doubt. It was fear that led them to micro-manage every aspect of my life, including my thoughts. They pushed me away from religion ultimately, by pushing me too hard toward it. And it was because they were afraid I’d reject it that they raised me in such a way that would leave little alternative.

 

Bless their hearts.

Have you told them this?
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  • Super Moderator

 

A thought occurred to me this morning (not that it is an unusual event): My parents raised me in fear. I don’t mean that they instilled fear in me; I mean that they were afraid when they were raising me. They were afraid that I would reject jesus. They were afraid that their beliefs were false. They were afraid that jesus wouldn’t be all he was cracked up to be and that his plan for my life would be a disaster.

 

They never voiced these fears, of course; and would deny them if ever asked. But their actions demonstrated that fear motivated them. This is why they were so forceful in my indoctrination, why they were so adamant that I believe and accept it all. It was fear that drove them to physically punish me whenever I expressed any doubt. It was fear that led them to micro-manage every aspect of my life, including my thoughts. They pushed me away from religion ultimately, by pushing me too hard toward it. And it was because they were afraid I’d reject it that they raised me in such a way that would leave little alternative.

 

Bless their hearts.

Have you told them this?

 

No, Chris.  I don't really have indepth conversations with them.  The weather and such is all I prefer to talk to them about. 

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A thought occurred to me this morning (not that it is an unusual event): My parents raised me in fear. I don’t mean that they instilled fear in me; I mean that they were afraid when they were raising me. They were afraid that I would reject jesus. They were afraid that their beliefs were false. They were afraid that jesus wouldn’t be all he was cracked up to be and that his plan for my life would be a disaster.

 

They never voiced these fears, of course; and would deny them if ever asked. But their actions demonstrated that fear motivated them. This is why they were so forceful in my indoctrination, why they were so adamant that I believe and accept it all. It was fear that drove them to physically punish me whenever I expressed any doubt. It was fear that led them to micro-manage every aspect of my life, including my thoughts. They pushed me away from religion ultimately, by pushing me too hard toward it. And it was because they were afraid I’d reject it that they raised me in such a way that would leave little alternative.

 

Bless their hearts.

Have you told them this?

No, Chris. I don't really have indepth conversations with them. The weather and such is all I prefer to talk to them about.
:(
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You've really hit on something. Fear that the kids will not be Christian. Fear that they will not vote Republican. Fear that they might support something socialist. Fear that they might become communists. In the word of my father's boyhood, communism meant even more of a nuclear threat than in the 1980s when I was growing up. At least by my own youth, we knew it was a failed system and doomed to not last, even if we were afraid the Soviets would bomb us.

I read once that without Hell, Christianity wouldn't have many takers. That is why they cling to it with such desperation: the preachers and people in power, I mean. Fear is huge. Fear of unorthodoxy. Fear that you won't be thinking as they do, fear that there may be something else out there. Took me till my 40s, but I'm finally out. I don't know how much cognitive dissonance most of them deal with, though I've met quite a few doubters when I was still among them. But the doubters, people such as I was, were not interested in instilling the fear.

I do remember, from my young RepubliChristian days of my early 20s, I was exceptionally insecure. Also, remember, they are taught that fear is good. That fear of the Lord (and his lordlings?) is the beginning of wisdom. Think about all the modern accountability stuff that came out of PromiseKeepers. These guys were more interested in us going to their groups and being maintained, than what we "double-minded" ones did, stay home and help look after the kids and give the wife a break. I think what some of us call the Fallwellian Explosion of the 70s and 80s really dialed up the fear factor to 11. After all, now they had made it all "reasonable" with their apologetics and political connections. No disrespect to any Marines ... I have family who are and I honor their service, ... but that quote from Full Metal Jacket is very apt: "God, with the help of a few Marines, will conquer Communism!" ... for those of us who came of age to that movie.

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You've really hit on something. Fear that the kids will not be Christian. Fear that they will not vote Republican. Fear that they might support something socialist. Fear that they might become communists. In the word of my father's boyhood, communism meant even more of a nuclear threat than in the 1980s when I was growing up. At least by my own youth, we knew it was a failed system and doomed to not last, even if we were afraid the Soviets would bomb us.

I read once that without Hell, Christianity wouldn't have many takers. That is why they cling to it with such desperation: the preachers and people in power, I mean. Fear is huge. Fear of unorthodoxy. Fear that you won't be thinking as they do, fear that there may be something else out there. Took me till my 40s, but I'm finally out. I don't know how much cognitive dissonance most of them deal with, though I've met quite a few doubters when I was still among them. But the doubters, people such as I was, were not interested in instilling the fear.

I do remember, from my young RepubliChristian days of my early 20s, I was exceptionally insecure. Also, remember, they are taught that fear is good. That fear of the Lord (and his lordlings?) is the beginning of wisdom. Think about all the modern accountability stuff that came out of PromiseKeepers. These guys were more interested in us going to their groups and being maintained, than what we "double-minded" ones did, stay home and help look after the kids and give the wife a break. I think what some of us call the Fallwellian Explosion of the 70s and 80s really dialed up the fear factor to 11. After all, now they had made it all "reasonable" with their apologetics and political connections. No disrespect to any Marines ... I have family who are and I honor their service, ... but that quote from Full Metal Jacket is very apt: "God, with the help of a few Marines, will conquer Communism!" ... for those of us who came of age to that movie.

Good points, Leo.  I've always just thought of my parents as horrible parents.  That's not to say they aren't reasonably decent people in other aspects; they do have their redeeming qualities.  I guess I've just never thought about what made them horrible parents.  It was fear, plain and simple.  That still doesn't automatically make up for all the "isms" that I deal with; but at least having a place to start is worth something.

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Professor I think it's sincere and loving of your parents to worry, as a believer I was so troubled by unbelieving family it made me feel physically sick with worry, at family get togethers is be overcome with anxiety when I looked at them with love but saw them as damned. It's such a complicated issue and the best way to look at it is your parents may be hoodwinked by the God they believe in but they love you more than the God of their religion loves them, accept that love the best you can mate don't let their religious paranoia taint it. Fuck religious fear, it makes a mockery of natural love.

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I think afireinside makes a good point. When my closest friend converted in his mid 50's, his

relationship with me changed. He became overly anxious in his efforts to convert me. By that time I was pretty much filled with doubt about the faith and all I wanted was someone to help with that.But I had heard all the bullshit about Xtianity from my fundamentalist brother years before and I knew as much, if not more, about it than he.

 

So his efforts were useless since I knew all of it already. He was sincere, dedicated and tenacious in his efforts to get to me. All he did was cause me to recall all my unanswered questions to which he had only the standard, boilerplate answers.

 

He became more and more impatient and finally downright mad. The thing is I could see he was sincere

and frustrated. He truly wanted to "help" me with my doubts and help me in general. I actually felt

sorry for him to some degree. I knew it was not easy for him to do. He was a nice gentle guy. So he was

out of character, but sincere.It was hard for him. So I was careful not to get angry with him.

I continued to treat him as a friend.Finally, though, we went our separate ways.

 

A few years later when I recalled this period, I found myself angry at him. But now I have come to the conclusion that I was right in the beginning to try to remain friends with him and to withhold my anger.

It was not his fault; it was the fault of fundamental Xtianiy. He had caught it, like a disease. It was pitiful. He was the victim, like many millions of others. I need to remind myself who the enemy is:

it's the doctrine of Xtianity at is fundamental level. bill

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You've really hit on something. Fear that the kids will not be Christian. Fear that they will not vote Republican. Fear that they might support something socialist. Fear that they might become communists. In the word of my father's boyhood, communism meant even more of a nuclear threat than in the 1980s when I was growing up. At least by my own youth, we knew it was a failed system and doomed to not last, even if we were afraid the Soviets would bomb us.

I read once that without Hell, Christianity wouldn't have many takers. That is why they cling to it with such desperation: the preachers and people in power, I mean. Fear is huge. Fear of unorthodoxy. Fear that you won't be thinking as they do, fear that there may be something else out there. Took me till my 40s, but I'm finally out. I don't know how much cognitive dissonance most of them deal with, though I've met quite a few doubters when I was still among them. But the doubters, people such as I was, were not interested in instilling the fear.

I do remember, from my young RepubliChristian days of my early 20s, I was exceptionally insecure. Also, remember, they are taught that fear is good. That fear of the Lord (and his lordlings?) is the beginning of wisdom. Think about all the modern accountability stuff that came out of PromiseKeepers. These guys were more interested in us going to their groups and being maintained, than what we "double-minded" ones did, stay home and help look after the kids and give the wife a break. I think what some of us call the Fallwellian Explosion of the 70s and 80s really dialed up the fear factor to 11. After all, now they had made it all "reasonable" with their apologetics and political connections. No disrespect to any Marines ... I have family who are and I honor their service, ... but that quote from Full Metal Jacket is very apt: "God, with the help of a few Marines, will conquer Communism!" ... for those of us who came of age to that movie.

 

Parents who train through fear suck. Even if not on purpose.

 

They have no excuse and will get what they put into it. Chances are the last thing they will fear is if you will talk to them as an adult while you are heading out the door so to speak.

 

My parents did this shit or they tried.

 

Oddly they also taught me in very strong ways to be a free thinking skeptic at the same time. Not sure what was going on in their heads but in the end they led me to a place where I could lead myself instead.

 

I don't live in fear and may die 1 second after hitting post no point in fearing unknown. it doesn't make it any less unknown. How one teaches that to others I have no clue.

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I remember thinking how scary the world must be for those who don't have God. I couldn't fathom living without that assurance that everything will end up okay, or at least you'll be in heaven when you die.

 

The funny thing is that now I can see how living as a christian makes your life filled with fear. You live with this wrathful God looking over your shoulder all the time, judging your every move. My life was lived according to the "shoulds" that I had been taught from the church, and I could never measure up to all the standards, so I felt guilty and afraid. I was afraid that I was screwing up my life, my kids' lives, and that I was failing in my mission to evangelize.

 

I'm not even close to totally free of all of that crap, but I'm slowly making my way out. I have to keep reminding myself that *I* determine what i should be doing at any given moment. I find that I'm much more confident in myself (most of the time), and don't have as much anxiety as before.

 

It has taken a huge load off my shoulders in terms of worrying about my children, too. I realize that my job is to raise them to think for themselves, not to push them to hold on to any one set of beliefs. what they ultimately decide is up to them, and I'll love them, whatever those beliefs end up being.

 

I do regret that I made so many important decisions out of fear and/or with the influence of the church in the background. I guess I can only change the decisions I make from here on out, right?

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  • Super Moderator

Professor I think it's sincere and loving of your parents to worry, as a believer I was so troubled by unbelieving family it made me feel physically sick with worry, at family get togethers is be overcome with anxiety when I looked at them with love but saw them as damned. It's such a complicated issue and the best way to look at it is your parents may be hoodwinked by the God they believe in but they love you more than the God of their religion loves them, accept that love the best you can mate don't let their religious paranoia taint it. Fuck religious fear, it makes a mockery of natural love.

Worrying is one thing, but when you physically punish your child just for expressing doubts/questions about your beliefs, you demonstrate that you love those beliefs more than you do your child.

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  • Super Moderator

 He had caught it, like a disease. It was pitiful. He was the victim, like many millions of others. I need to remind myself who the enemy is:

it's the doctrine of Xtianity at is fundamental level. bill

This is a good point; and you know what a fan of the "virus" analogy I am.  I know my parents are infected and that couldn't be helped.  It just cracks me up sometimes to hear them say, "We did the best we could."

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  • Super Moderator

I remember thinking how scary the world must be for those who don't have God. I couldn't fathom living without that assurance that everything will end up okay, or at least you'll be in heaven when you die.

 

The funny thing is that now I can see how living as a christian makes your life filled with fear. You live with this wrathful God looking over your shoulder all the time, judging your every move. My life was lived according to the "shoulds" that I had been taught from the church, and I could never measure up to all the standards, so I felt guilty and afraid. I was afraid that I was screwing up my life, my kids' lives, and that I was failing in my mission to evangelize.

 

I'm not even close to totally free of all of that crap, but I'm slowly making my way out. I have to keep reminding myself that *I* determine what i should be doing at any given moment. I find that I'm much more confident in myself (most of the time), and don't have as much anxiety as before.

 

It has taken a huge load off my shoulders in terms of worrying about my children, too. I realize that my job is to raise them to think for themselves, not to push them to hold on to any one set of beliefs. what they ultimately decide is up to them, and I'll love them, whatever those beliefs end up being.

 

I do regret that I made so many important decisions out of fear and/or with the influence of the church in the background. I guess I can only change the decisions I make from here on out, right?

I, too, feel a great sense of freedom and relief in being able to raise my son according to who he is and not who I want him to be.  I think that was be biggest frustration as a kid--never being allowed to "just be myself".  I always had to live up to expectations and standards that I just didn't like.

 

And as for regretting so many important decisions due to indoctrination:  Well, it won't happen again, I can tell you.  But living with the consequences of those decisions does suck sometimes.

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Like the Professor, I feel that it would really not be a good idea to have in depth discussions with my parents. My mother has written me many letters about just how important Jesus is to her. This is her indirect way of trying to force this issue on me through the years and control my thinking as an adult. She probably thinks its subtle, but yep, still trying to control my life. At least my father hasn't tried it yet.  No matter what they try, I can't believe the same way they do. And they did not hesitate to use fear, and even ridicule, as a control tactic on me growing up.  Of course we all know how fear based fundamentalist Christianity is.

 

It was impossible for me to "just be myself" as a child. Whenever I tried, I was slapped down in various ways.  Many of these things I didn't even realize as a child. Coming to terms with all of this as an adult and still have ANY KIND of a relationship with my parents is one of the hardest things I have had to cope with in my life.

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Of course parents fear.  They fear that their kids will not succeed in their exams, will waste their lives on sport or computers, will hitch themselves to unsuitable partners etc etc ad nauseam and ad infinitum...

 

Within a Christian setting, they fear that their kids will go to hell.

 

I've seen a Christian mother in tears over her son's disavowal of faith.  I've no doubt she would have beaten Christianity into him if she could, as a sort of perverse "labour of love".

 

Therefore, I would have been amazed had such parents not been so motivated.  Nor can I readily envisage any sensible basis for a conversation with such on the subject.

 

What really puzzles me is how such parents think heaven will be bliss for them with the eternal knowledge of the suffering of their progeny.  But that's another issue.

 

Edit - in correcting a spelling error on the above post I think I clicked a wrong button and may have tried to report myself to a moderator.  Apologies if anyone picks up a strangely blank report about this...  Hopefully it didn't have that effect, but you never know...

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  • Super Moderator

A certain amount of fear is understandable, and even healthy, Ellinas, such as the fears you describe (exams, wasted lives, etc.).  I suppose my overall point is that my parents' fear seemed disproportionately aggressive toward pushing me into indoctrination and keeping me there.  How mom is coping with the idea of my immortal soul suffering eternal hellfire, I have no clue; but it does give me a somewhat perverse sense of pleasure to think she is struggling with it.

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"Coming to terms with all of this as an adult and still have ANY KIND of a relationship with my parents is one of the hardest things I have had to cope with in my life." deva

 

 

I know it must be, deva. And what makes it so hard is that you still love them so much. My heart goes out to you. bill

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''Christianity is based on fear, fear of wrath and fear of hell, and it spreads this gospel of fear everywhere. When we are afraid, it becomes very difficult to think straight. I'm glad my fear of hellish eternity has slipped away.

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I can see how that is true, Prof. My sister-in-law did a number on her son, too. I don't know that there was any physical abuse, but I keep my children at arms length with her. She once burned a Harry Potter book her son borrowed from a friend because it was "evil." Afraid he would be negatively influenced by a book, I'm sure.

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  • Super Moderator

I can see how that is true, Prof. My sister-in-law did a number on her son, too. I don't know that there was any physical abuse, but I keep my children at arms length with her. She once burned a Harry Potter book her son borrowed from a friend because it was "evil." Afraid he would be negatively influenced by a book, I'm sure.

I used to borrow christian rock albums from bands like Stryper and Petra from my friends and make copies of them on blank cassettes.  I'd have to listen to them in secret because even christian rock was "of the devil".  When mom would find them, she'd burn them.  Now she wonders why I won't let my son stay with her unless I'm there too.

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Fear becomes part of the epigenetics of people, so it can actually be inherited from generation to generation, as a mental and emotional condition. It can direct people's psychological and sociological patterns. If you take poverty, abuse and/or neglect, political oppression or exploitation, and then add "the fear of god" through religion, it can actually make "fear" a character trait of being human. And actually, the fear of god through religion can be the basis for the other conditions developing and being perpetuated (oppression, abuse, poverty). It becomes imbedded in people's subconscious (individually and collectively), and they behave accordingly toward their children and think it is being dutiful and loving and caring parents.

 

I agree totally Human. I watched this video the other night and I found it to be amazing because I love to study the brain. This answered so many questions as to why we have 'fear' (built in for survival) and why people use it to control. For anyone interested..it's really worth the watch....at least I thought so....

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUbDfMp52yE

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