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Guest freedwoman

Recovering/Healing From Christianity

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Guest freedwoman

How do you all do it? Do you still feel religious side effects or injuries if you will? How do you get self esteem back after leaving it behind? Are you still afraid of the Bible God and Hell? How has leaving Christianity affected your lives and relationships? What do you think is your purpose now? Sorry too many questions. Just curious is all. I'm still struggling after leaving. 

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Everybody has had different degrees of indoctrination. Everybody handles things like this differently. There is no standard formula or timeline for recovery. Some people find it useful to seek professional secular counseling.

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18 minutes ago, freedwoman said:

How do you all do it? Do you still feel religious side effects or injuries if you will? How do you get self esteem back after leaving it behind? Are you still afraid of the Bible God and Hell? How has leaving Christianity affected your lives and relationships? What do you think is your purpose now? Sorry too many questions. Just curious is all. I'm still struggling after leaving. 

I grew up in a fierce hell-fire-and-brimstone fundamentalist family, so yeah it took a decade or more to get passed some very deep rooted fear that God hates me or that I was destined to go to hell. It was a long journey but I slowly worked through my childhood fears of annihilation/abandonment, and was able to see their theology as insane and self-serving as they are. I also studied a lot of religions and beliefs along the way - which helps even if you don't adopt one of those other belief systems. It helps see the commonalities of these beliefs and elements of the basic human condition they represent - not some "grand" singular TRUTH that will will be punished eternally if you don't adopt it NOW. It also helps that I worked hard, got lucky, and managed to become financially stable early on so my parents couldn't continue to flaunt potential financial/social abandonment in my face. There isn't anything left they can take away from me.

 

My self esteem comes from my own life and my own accomplishments now. I have friends who accept me for who I am. A couple of my closer friends effectively form my 'de-facto' family. I am no longer afraid of God or Hell. Christianity has definitely affected my life and my relationships. My relationships are better and more meaningful now that I am no longer Christian. My purpose in life is to be the best me that I can be, and, to the best of my abilities, embrace the multitude of opportunities and experiences my life offers. My purpose is also to be as kind and as wise as I am able to be, and also to watch out and care for my own self that was so un-cared for by people who were supposed to during my childhood. I hope to extend this care to people who have likewise been deprived. This gives me gratification, because it helps me feel as though I was able to win back what I have lost.

 

Cheers on the courage you showed by taking a step into this path. I hope my replies help :)

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@freedwoman,

 

As @florduh pointed out everyone has undergone differing levels of indoctrination. Not sure if we all respond to the same stimulus the same but I'm sure you can find the answer to that on the interwebs.

 

Just keep in mind that your fear and angst are the result of said indoctrination (professional speak for brain washing) and it can be undone. Keep reading/posting here. Read from the myriad of authors on the subject - the works of many of whom are offered here, and stay the hell away from anything that will reinforce the B.S. We're talking church, churchy friends who cannot stop talking about jebus, xtian music, fundy spouses (Yes, I leave the room when she starts churching out!) , and abscessing about hell. Once the indoctrination begins to wain you will start to realize how stupid and man-made all the fundy crap is.

 

Baby steps, Free. Baby steps.

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I left the Christian church about 20 years ago. (Well, now I go to a Unitarian Universalist church but mainly for the sense of community. They're accepting of atheists, agnostics and free thinkers.) 

 

For years afterward I still feared hell. Sometimes I prayed, "If You want me to believe again, You have to give me good reasons. It's not fair to send me to hell for unbelief, if You didn't provide evidence." But as the saying goes, the heavens were silent and Christian apologetics didn't convince me. For example, Lee Strobel's Case for Christ seemed completely one-sided. 

 

Over time, my fear of hell has diminished but it is stubborn. It's like the claws of religion, digging deep into you. It's not rational, but over time and with thought and reason it gets better. I agree with MOHO: baby steps.

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Christianity caused me paralyzing anxiety. When I left my last church I genuinely intended to find another one after a brief break. Because of “legitimate” reasons it’s easy for my still-christian friends to understand why I don’t attend church on Sundays. For the most part I’m comfortable with my newfound non-religious self. 
 

As for how it’s changed my relationships, I haven’t disclosed it to any believing friends yet. For the sake of honesty I hope to, but I’m not there yet. 
 

I no longer have this anxious, condemning voice inside my head berating me for not sharing the gospel with people. I’m able to enjoy people as they are and get to know them for them. They’re no longer “projects” or “my mission field.” I sucked at it, but that only added to my shame. 
 

I appreciate life more than I have before. Have you heard the saying “make sure you’re not so heavenly minded that you’re no earthly good”? That was me. Not externally - I rarely ever shared the gospel and when I did it was probably just as excruciating for my victim as it was for me, but internally I appreciate life in a way I haven’t before because I was wasting so much time on things that I now believe didn’t matter. 
 

This is not at all to say my life is perfect or that I don’t ever fee anxious. I just appreciate being alive in a way I haven’t before. 

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I left the cult over 30 years ago. Fear of a vengeful god and hell/damnation is long gone. I don't feel much of anything any more other than an occasional tinge of anger every time someone speaks about how good and mighty god is or some other stupid crap. 

You're on the right track...keep going...you'll get there :)

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One day at a time.

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I’ve found the deconversion stories on this site very helpful. I also read books that would’ve been taboo before because of their anti-theist or anti-biblical content. I’m currently reading through Bart Ehrman’s “Heaven and Hell: A Story of the Afterlife.” 

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I actually felt a lot of anxiety vanish when I first realized I no longer believed in God. I suppose it's different for everyone. I was Catholic so perhaps it was a Catholic guilt thing.

 

I found Dawkins and Hitchens books to be very helpful in shaking my scrupulousity (*spelling*) loose. They're light on theology so eventually I was recommended Bart Ehrman. There are lots of videos on YouTube of his talks, debates, and interviews. Because he was so devout and a biblical scholar and historian, he can be very freeing to listen to. 

 

And obviously this forum has been very helpful.

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