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Everything is different with others.

 

While I am not mentally confused with doctrine anymore, I am seeing everyone differently and this is now the major growing point still for me. I feel differently about people for good and bad. I am no longer excusing rudeness and intimidation because the people are christians or because they aren't and I am and so I should. I am not arguing back but its another way of thinking.

 

Not just this issue, but other issues as well.

 

Has anyone else been unfavorably influenced by christianity's unusual social teachings?

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Everything is different with others.

 

While I am not mentally confused with doctrine anymore, I am seeing everyone differently and this is now the major growing point still for me. I feel differently about people for good and bad. I am no longer excusing rudeness and intimidation because the people are christians or because they aren't and I am and so I should. I am not arguing back but its another way of thinking.

 

Not just this issue, but other issues as well.

 

Has anyone else been unfavorably influenced by christianity's unusual social teachings?

Yes.

 

It was a world of freedom opened before me. I find myself treating people with a lot more respect, until they disrespect me. Then I either let them have it with both barrels, or, if I feel like taking the high road, I walk away.

 

Either way, I feel no obligation to them. I am no longer obliged to be nice, just because I'm a Christian and have to set an example. I'm not longer obliged to witness to them. Truly, their choices are theirs, with all the consequences therein, and my choices are mine. It's a beautiful thing. :)

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Oh, yeah.

 

Maybe the biggest change for me is losing the deep self-hatred that Xianity nursed and made grow. It was there when I found the religion, and the religion fed it and supported it - helped it grow bit and fat and gluttonous, until I was ashamed even to breathe.

 

That'll sure fuck up your social interactions. It's one of many reasons why my first marriage sucked. When I hated myself I didn't believe I deserved to have my needs met, so I wouldn't ask for anything until it was a total crisis. I was ashamed even to have needs at all, of any kind - from sex to emotional comfort to food, even. I let people do all kinds of shit to me and I thought I had to take it because of that "turn the other cheek" bullshit.

 

When I was a fundie I also had that strange, self-loathing arrogance a lot of fundies have. I mean I hated myself, but I also thought that I knew better than anybody else whether or not they were going to heaven and stuff like that. Sort of this weird "I'm worthless but better than you" kind of schizoid thinking going on.

 

Man, I was fucked in the head. What can I say.

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Personally, I have found it easier to be honest with everyone. Both from not having an ulterior motive about their souls, and also, as others have put it, I am no longer obligated to be needlessly nice. Not that I was as a Christian, but now I don't feel guilty about it.

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I do feel I can retaliate more. The Buddha, for example, teaches a path of moderation, which is a nice breath of fresh air compared to "turn the other cheek" - i.e., "bend over".

 

Did anybody ever have a fellow Christian chew your ass out because you yelled back? "Oh, smart back at me, eh? You think God likes people who talk back to their elders?" (It was usually used by my teachers at my Lutheran school, and those were some nasty-ass people - think Catholic school times a puritan billion - and what they were saying was, "I can be a total abusive asshole to you and I don't even have to listen to your side of the story, so I can interrupt you and jump to conclusions and knock you around for no reason other than I'm bigger and older and have a personal power issue and I'll use religion to back myself up for it as an excuse").

 

One thing I remember about being Christian was that doing anything for yourself was wrong. Remember, you had to give yourself up to Christ. It's strange, but now I feel a stronger connection to others and a stronger drive to help them - I guess because we were told to be frugal because, well, that's what God wanted and help others only in the sense of spreading the Gospel. God wanted us to go without luxuries for no reason other than God wanted us to go without luxuries. We were to put ourselves last, put God first. Do everything for Jesus. Think of ourselves as lowly, despicable, undeserving sinners. Now I can do things for myself without feeling guilty. So I guess you could say I have a better relationship with myself. :grin:

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Now I have an above-average appreciation for the general population whereas it had been below-average before.

 

It's just the opposite with me, actually. Since I don't feel I have to "love" everyone on some level, I don't feel obligated to give the general populace as an entity any more respect than I think it deserves. The general populace, I must remind you, is the reason we have reality television; they're the ones who watch it. 'Nuff said.

 

Of course, I do tend to have more respect in many of my personal relationships. Now I don't have that kind of snide arrogance underlying my relationships with non-Christians or less than perfect Christians. No, indeed, my arrogance is far less subtle now. ^_^

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Weirdly enough, I think I actually love people more now than when I was a xtian. Can't really explain it - just a kind of empathy I think I lacked as an unbeliever. Now I really feel for the suffering of others, whereas before I tried to always force myself to.

 

Since I don't have to constantly be checking a guidebook for my emotions anymore, they've matured into something a lot more real.

 

That's not to say I don't tweak the idiots for laughs, tho. ;)

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maybe you love more and better now because people who are Not Christians are no longer The Enemy, but no different than you, other than maybe in beliefs?

 

Once you let someone hold their own beliefs, you can get to the person better. Exclusive beliefs are a big road block. They'll never see they're the road block to world peace.

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Weirdly enough, I think I actually love people more now than when I was a xtian. Can't really explain it - just a kind of empathy I think I lacked as an unbeliever. Now I really feel for the suffering of others, whereas before I tried to always force myself to.

 

Since I don't have to constantly be checking a guidebook for my emotions anymore, they've matured into something a lot more real.

I've felt a subtle change too. I think partly I was brought up to see everyone as Christ and behave to them as if they were Christ. Now I can just see them in their humanity and it makes so much more sense. I see the person far more.

And not to have to turn the other cheek and love the ones who actually hate me or who hurt me is a great relief. I can still feel empathy for them and try and understand why they are as they are, but I don't have to feel guilty about my dislike for them and what they did to me, which just used to tie me in all sorts of knots.

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One of the things that has kept me on the deconversion path is that I feel I am becoming more 'christian' to others since losing faith in the dogma. I felt greater respect for non-christians, I'm more open and honest, I'm realising I didn't listen to them before because their opinions didn't count because they didn't know Jesus! I'm far less judgemental, but yet far more questioning of injustice or wrong doing. I now help people just because they are fellow travellers in the world and not for the self-gratification of getting brownie points in the sky (think this leads to resentment in the end).

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Mog, you summed it up well. I can relate to everything you say.

 

AOG, maybe part of loving better is also the realization that you won't have eternity with loved ones. If this life is all there is, each moment and each relationship becomes more precious, and forgiveness comes easier. Who wants to waste time on grudges and revenge?

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