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Brainwashed Feelings Of Doubt


Guest BreathinHeathen
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Guest BreathinHeathen

Hello,

 

This is my first post on this website.  I offically considered myself an ex-Christian about a year ago.  Since then, I've had my ups and downs but overall it has been a positive experience.  However, I've recently been having "doubts" about my lack of belief.  Now I know that there is no reason to believe in Christianity, yet I will have nights where I struggle to grasp this.  I know that there is historical, scientific, or philosophical argument that would give me a reason to believe.  I have no desire to be a Christian, but I have this pounding thought in the back of mind that keeps shouting "What if you're wrong?".  I know that if I had been raised in any other religion (or lack there of) that I would have no reason to have any thoughts pertaining to Christianity.  These thoughts can cause me some distress when they occur.  All I want to do is stop having these thoughts.  I'm don't have OCD, but they usually come up once a day from just being so brainwashed.  Do you guys have any advice to help rid me of these thoughts?

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Mostly it takes time and a good intake of facts. Faith is a small mental program that exploits our basic survival mechanisms. That is why it is so difficult to re-program. When we have perceived authorities telling us that this is important for eternal survival, and we believe, that becomes something that will not be easily dislodged. It is like a parent warning a kid not to go in the jungle because there are tigers there. Even when the parent is not around, the mind has a virtual parent (psychologists call this an "introject") that replays what the parent taught as though the parent were actually there. This keeps the kid out of the jungle and alive. It's an ancient system in our evolution. If it were easily overridden, it wouldn't work so well to keep us alive.

 

So it takes time. I find that I still have Christian songs popping up in my mind (sang them eleventy-million times) and I have to stop myself from letting them out of my mouth. I remind myself of the thousands of other gods that were passionately worshiped, whose temples now lie in ruins for lack of followers. I took the time to write a detailed draft of a book about my deconversion, which helped me sort out my thoughts and reasons, and at the same time helped solidify those reasons. There are times when a friend has a sickness or need and my first reaction is to ask for help. Then I wonder who it is I'm asking. This is 7 years after deconverting.

 

I know that I'm not wrong about my conclusions. The god of the Bible is evil, and nothing more than a Middle-Eastern tribal deity whose religion survived with his "chosen" tribe. The religion is ridiculous when examined in detail, and I've done so repeatedly (without making excuses for him like I did when I was a believer). Baal was once a super-popular deity in that region, but today has zero followers. Same for Ashtoreth, all the gods of Persia, Babylon, Assyria, Egypt, Rome, Greece, Mexico, and so on. All of them had followings for a thousand years or more, and all of them are now dead religions. If you ask yourself, "What if I'm wrong?", what if any one of those gods is the "real" god? It seems silly at that point. Just add Yahweh and Jesus to the pile. But it takes time to re-learn reality. No worries.

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I know that there is historical, scientific, or philosophical argument that would give me a reason to believe.

 

this is a statement i have problem with,,,,,,

 

philosophical, a BIG maybe

 

historical and scientific argument? thats abit of stretch,,,,

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Hi grevejp.

 

I'm about 9-10 months into the deconversion process and I completely relate to what you're saying. For the first few months I enjoyed letting go of worrying about a lot of the doubts and things that had niggled at me or controlled my thoughts for years, but lately some of the doubts have turned on themselves and I'm doubting my doubts unsure.png.

 

I find it very tiring to engage in learning more about science and evolution; I find it quite clinical and uninspiring. I'm an artist and a dreamer and I like things that are poetic and interpersonal. I'm an INFP if anyone's into Myers-Briggs, that pretty much sums me up. The idealist, the healer - that's me.

I find it hard to accept that my fingerprint or the fins of a fish or the fact that the sun is in the exact right spot for life on earth to exist, could have come from nothing and be for no reason. Maybe some would say that I'm ignorant of scientific fact and I'm just being wishy-washy and engaging in 'wish thinking' or some other atheist rhetoric (no disrespect to atheists, but you do have a language!), but I feel like it's quite reasonable to be skeptical about the randomness of it all.

 

My counselor (a legend who has been instrumental in my healing process) said something helpful to me one day when I called him in a panic. He said that in the same way it was OK to become skeptical about religion in the first place, it's also OK to be skeptical about secularism. The point is not whether or not you doubt one thing or another, it's about whether you can celebrate your curiosity and be a joyful doubter.

I think this is a big theme I've seen running through a lot of extimonies I've read - fear and self-loathing because of doubt or unbelief. And that kind of thing just breeds more fear and self-loathing - I know because I've been there, as I think many of us have.
A quote that's really helped me out with this issue is by Rilke from his "Letters to a Young Poet":
 

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

 

 

I like the idea of a holistic approach to changing deep-seated thought patterns - engaging body, mind, voice, heart, creativity and connectivity rather than it just being an intellectual or purely rational thing. I guess I see my de-conversion as necessarily experiential, because when I was in the faith I denied myself a lot of the glory and splendor of a full, well-rounded experience of life.

 

So I guess my advice is, don't wish that it would go away. Allow yourself to ponder whether it might be all true! Because you now have the freedom to ponder that question without fear. You take the power out of an idea by looking into its face and smiling.

Sing, go for a jog, stare at your reflection in the mirror, talk to your best friend/lover/mother about memories or art or music. As much as any intellectual pursuit, these will give you new thoughts to replace the unwanted ones.

 

That's my artsy, hippie offering, for whatever it's worth! Hope it helps.

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