Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Persephone

Working Through Anxiety And Away From Christianity

Recommended Posts

This site has been a wonderful source of comfort to me in the face of overwhelming anxiety about losing faith in the Christian God.  I do hope my story can be of comfort to those who have been faced with the same fears.  Some of what I have written below are some of the most awful thoughts that have ever entered my head and ultimately are what caused me to realize that something had to change.

 

Now for a little background. I was born into and Baptized into a Catholic family, though I say Catholic in the loosest of terms. My family went to church weekly and I attended a Catholic grade school, but ultimately I never prayed or even thought much about God outside those terms.  I liked church, quite a lot, and frankly I still do. I like looking at all the beautiful statues, stained glass windows, and other decorations in the church.  The worship music is still my absolute favorite part of it, especially when the organist is part of the music team. 

 

Throughout my upbringing I was always taught to look at things critically, science was always encouraged, and that led me to think about the world very objectively. I always believed in evolution (though Catholics do support this), was a liberal in terms of social aspects of society, and was never ever concerned about evangelizing. Basically, I was a “lukewarm” Christian at very best until I hit 30 and then something happened that caused me to seek out a greater faith.

In 2010 I had suffered a miscarriage and it devastated me. This was right around Christmas time and I remember praying at mass for God to bless me with a baby if he saw fit.  Fast forward a few weeks later and I was pregnant again with my daughter. This delighted me and pushed me towards being more devout in my faith because I felt God had his Hand in this, so I started attending church weekly and praying daily to show my thanks to God. 

 

I was so happy to have my daughter and 17 months after she was born, a son, and I was just so grateful to God for all of it. In this time I had started attending a Presbyterian church (PCA) because I had liked the sermons, still continued with the Catholic church because I felt most close to God there, and also started attending a Bible study. Now, I had never studied the Bible outside of Sunday mornings, so this was very new to me.  The study is heavily influenced by Baptist doctrine, though I’m not sure what flavor of Baptist, regardless they believe in the inerrancy of the Bible and once saved always saved. 

 

My first year in the study I noticed a few doctrinal difference between the Catholic and Protestant churches, but ultimately I sided Catholic because I had grown up with them.  The cognitive dissonance wasn’t that great at the time.  By the time the 2nd year had rolled around I started looking deeper into Catholic history, beliefs, and stumbled upon the Catholic Catechisms and was horrified.

 

Reading the Catechisms sent my anxiety through the roof cause of what sins would send you to hell, basically any “mortal sin” which was defined as breaking one of the 10 Commandments (the first set, not the 2nd in Exodus) and a few others mentioned in the Pauline Epistles.  In order for you to avoid that fate you had to go to confession and so I did, which made me more anxious because I’m an introvert and loathe speaking to people when I don’t have to. I spent my days making sure I didn’t sin, checking especially to make sure it wasn’t mortal, and now I was truly worried for my whole family and their fate after death.

 

This led me to study the Bible even further to see if this was even a concept in it and the verse that the Catholics use to show this is true says nothing about priests, just that you are to confess your sins to others.  I spent the next several months praying and hoping God would reveal to me a sign, any sign, that the Catholics have it wrong and that if the PCA church I was attending is the better choice.  After months of silence, I made the leap to switch. My cognitive dissonance had settled and I had found trust in God that he would help my family make it to Heaven….at least for the time being.

 

My 3rd year of Bible study was the book of Revelation. I honestly didn’t want to attend this one cause I very much dislike the use of imagery when trying to convey something concrete and true. My leader always quoted the “Bible is equally true, but not equally clear”. Cognitive dissonance at its finest! Through the first 2/3 of the book I was happy I decided not to skip it, but then cue in Ch. 14 and the winepress combined with a fire and brimstone substitute speaker and I was sent into a full blown panic attack. Sermons like that didn’t happen in Catholic churches, that’s for sure!  I spent the next month physically ill with panic and the worst thoughts I ever had entered my head. 

 

I was so worried for my husband, who pretty much a free thinker but he doesn’t label himself anything, my children because they would be influenced by him and his worldly views, and the whole rest of my family who are very liberal Catholics.  I thought about running away with the kids so I could just expose them to biblical teachings. I was regretting having them, and by this time my 2nd daughter was born, because if I didn’t give birth to them they would never had the chance of going to hell.  Other thoughts like those who are having abortions are saving babies from the chance of going to hell too.  At least those who had the abortions could repent if they wanted.  All the while in the back of my mind I didn’t want to do any of that and that I KNEW THOSE THOUGHTS WERE CRAZY. 

 

This is what led me to this site and most especially the testimonials section. Reading your stories, looking up your references on the history of the canonization, mistranslations, forgeries, and everything came tumbling down.  Now I’m not sure where I stand on God, maybe agnostic, maybe deist, but I would rather not label myself regardless. 

 

Through this awful experience I was able to see that my underlying anxiety was a source of my decision making. It wasn’t only Christianity that had given me severe anxiety, but a variety of events and situations over the years. Medication and therapy have helped immensely and it’s something I should have started back in high school.  At this point all I need is tools I have gained for positive thoughts to help through any anxiety provoking situations. I’m enjoying my life right now and although I do have some “what ifs” thoughts in my head, for the most part I know that’s all that is, in my head.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello and welcome to this site. I hope you find it informative and supportive. Coming to the realisation that what you believe is mythology, to me is a time of stress and worry. But also relief that I have been able to think freely. I suggest reading the bible for yourself if you haven't (you sound like me, just going to church on Sunday and not reading the bible for yourself) I have found it horrific and full of contridictions. And I recommend reading other books. There is a post on this site called letter to my Christian parents. It is a 45 page letter. Very in depth and interesting. I am also part way through this book http://infidels.org/library/modern/ken_daniels/why.htmlfrom a missionary who left his faith.

 

I wish you all the best. And once again. Welcome

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Chilled,

 

your story was very emotional to read. I'm glad that you are feeling better now and hope that you feel stronger every day in the choices you've made, in your beautiful children and all the wonderful things you get to enjoy in this life. Hugs! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello and welcome to this site. I hope you find it informative and supportive. Coming to the realisation that what you believe is mythology, to me is a time of stress and worry. But also relief that I have been able to think freely. I suggest reading the bible for yourself if you haven't (you sound like me, just going to church on Sunday and not reading the bible for yourself) I have found it horrific and full of contridictions. And I recommend reading other books. There is a post on this site called letter to my Christian parents. It is a 45 page letter. Very in depth and interesting. I am also part way through this book http://infidels.org/library/modern/ken_daniels/why.htmlfrom a missionary who left his faith.

 

I wish you all the best. And once again. Welcome

Not the entire Bible. I have read most of the NT, studied the Pentateuch over the course of a year and have done several more shorter studies on other chapters in the OT. The letter you mentioned was the reason I signed up for an account here because you couldn't read it without it. The part that stood out to me most was the NT fulfilled prophesies were taken completely out of context of the OT verses. Now that you reminded me of that I want to read it over again. I have on my reading list several books and this one looks interesting too! I'm looking forward to reading all of them!

 

Thank you for reading my extimony!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Chilled,

 

your story was very emotional to read. I'm glad that you are feeling better now and hope that you feel stronger every day in the choices you've made, in your beautiful children and all the wonderful things you get to enjoy in this life. Hugs! 

Thank you! My kids keep me on my toes, as running my business from home.  I was comfortable with not having to fit into the Christian mold before becoming devout so this feels natural to me. I actually like not knowing everything because it leaves room to discover and learn new things.  And these are the things I want my children to have a love for too -- be curious about everything!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome, Persephone! I love your name. And I'm glad you are getting past anxiety.

 

My sister went through something similar, though she hadn't had her child yet. She was a Christian but when a Reformed Baptist pastor was ranting, "Have you felt the weight of your sin?" it suddenly hit her and she went into a nervous breakdown that lasted at least a year.

 

I haven't been immune to it, either. Conservative Cristianity in both Catholic and Protestant versions is set up to keep you always in the wrong, always in need of its medicine for the ailments it convinced you that you had. We've been there.

 

I have found it helpful to consider how the very major events have zero credibility. Once you start getting into the resurrection accounts, you see that the solid core dribbles away. And the Exodus? It seems pretty clear that archaeologists (except fundies) peg the story as myth. If God didn't give the Torah at Mt. Sinai to all of Israel, with all of Israel swearing to keep it, then there was no Old Covenant. No old covenant, no new covenant. Some people try to say, well, maybe Hebrews crept into Palestine from Egypt in dribs and drabs and over time came to accept the Torah. But that's not good enough for the covenant to be a covenant. It had to be stated by God and accepted by the whole people to count as a contract. Without the notion of contract, there is no Judaism.

 

I look forward to more of your insights. Cheers, f!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Hi Chilled,

 

your story was very emotional to read. I'm glad that you are feeling better now and hope that you feel stronger every day in the choices you've made, in your beautiful children and all the wonderful things you get to enjoy in this life. Hugs! 

Thank you! My kids keep me on my toes, as running my business from home.  I was comfortable with not having to fit into the Christian mold before becoming devout so this feels natural to me. I actually like not knowing everything because it leaves room to discover and learn new things.  And these are the things I want my children to have a love for too -- be curious about everything!

 

 

Oops! I mis-read your name from the person who commented last. Persephone is indeed a lovely name. Really liked your perspective about discovering and learning new things. I needed that reminder as well!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The journey out of religion is often difficult & stressful, but once doubt & reality set in religion often becomes impossible to tolerate. All religions were created from ancient myths. None of them are true in any literal or historic sense. They are basically adult fairy tales that have been repackaged and sold as theology. Without indoctrinating their adherents religion could not survive.

 

The journey out of religion gets easier with the passing of time, but the journey often takes many years to complete. I am happy you found this site. It has been proven to be helpful for those leaving their prior faith.

 

I was shocked when I studied & researched the origins & evolution of Christianity & the Bible. You will never hear the truth in any Church because the faithful have never heard it either.

 

Welcome, I hope you stick around for awhile.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice extimoney, Persephone!

 

Well written outline of the BS that religions, expecially xianity, are.

 

Welcome to the site.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome Persephone

 

Agree with the others about you name - love it.

 

I understand the struggle you have gone through with anxiety, having suffered a bad period of four years with it myself. I'm not sure that we can actually ever comp-lately overcome anxiety due to it being somewhat hardwired into the brain for some individuals. I am sure many, like you have had the same fearful and anxious thoughts about hell, sin etc. However I believe there is a way forward where you can find yourself at peace and not fearful.

 

You hit the nail on the head with your last line - it is all in the head, and if you can accept that you will feel much better.

 

Wishing you all the best.

 

LogicalFallacy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me anow adult lifetime of anxiety literally vanished immediately once I came to the realization that god is imaginary. I had absolutely no clue that religion was the source of it all. I did not even suspect it. I am now over five years anxiety free, am I am Sooooo happy. I hope all works well for you too.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome, Persephone! I love your name. And I'm glad you are getting past anxiety.

 

My sister went through something similar, though she hadn't had her child yet. She was a Christian but when a Reformed Baptist pastor was ranting, "Have you felt the weight of your sin?" it suddenly hit her and she went into a nervous breakdown that lasted at least a year.

 

I haven't been immune to it, either. Conservative Cristianity in both Catholic and Protestant versions is set up to keep you always in the wrong, always in need of its medicine for the ailments it convinced you that you had. We've been there.

 

I have found it helpful to consider how the very major events have zero credibility. Once you start getting into the resurrection accounts, you see that the solid core dribbles away. And the Exodus? It seems pretty clear that archaeologists (except fundies) peg the story as myth. If God didn't give the Torah at Mt. Sinai to all of Israel, with all of Israel swearing to keep it, then there was no Old Covenant. No old covenant, no new covenant. Some people try to say, well, maybe Hebrews crept into Palestine from Egypt in dribs and drabs and over time came to accept the Torah. But that's not good enough for the covenant to be a covenant. It had to be stated by God and accepted by the whole people to count as a contract. Without the notion of contract, there is no Judaism.

 

I look forward to more of your insights. Cheers, f!

Thank you for your reply! I had studied Greek and Roman mythology in college and loved the story of Persephone, who just happens to be the Greek Goddess of the Underworld. 

 

My husband had once mentioned to me that there is no historical records of the Exodus and that it's extremely odd that none of it would be written down considering how huge it was supposed to me.  The apologetic reason I was given was that since it's written in the Bible then it must be true.  I never liked that response but that didn't stop me from just brushing it aside without much further thought.  It's really cringe-worthy to me that I didn't even bother questioning it because I thought it wrong to doubt.  I was never like that before I became devout!

 

I also feel bad for your sister. It's a terrible feeling to lose all hope and all control of your emotions. You feel like you're backed into a corner and given the illusion of a choice and free will, but really non-choice. It's that fear that keeps people in line and in faith. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very good opening post.

 

Christianity is wicked, wicked, it's god cruel  and nasty , a supernatural serial killer. Why would anyone want to love this fictional beast. A being who drowns children, a being who has his own son tortured. A being who gives orders and then prevents them being carried out so he can murder the "disobedient". A being who communicates with humans his contradictory orders via dreams, bushes and badly written books.

 

We need to be saved........by the one thing threatening us......we need to have faith.......by something we cannot see......God wants "all" to be saved....although the Bible says nearly all of us are going to hell  

 

Their deity  is weird and troubling 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.