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Author Topic: Question for those hurt by religious background  (Read 623 times)

EclecticWheel

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Question for those hurt by religious background
« on: December 29, 2018, 12:23:26 pm »
These questions are aimed at those who come from religious backgrounds that were harmful or toxic for them whether as a child or adult, but I don't mind others joining in of course.

What is your religious background?  Why was it a bad fit for you?

Did you manage to heal from your experiences?  What did that journey look like?  How did you manage to heal?

What is different about your current religious practice that makes it a better fit for you?

I may reply to this later.
My personal moral code:

Love wisely, and do what thou wilt.

letty

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Re: Question for those hurt by religious background
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2018, 07:51:55 pm »
I grew up in a kind of lossey-goosey cultural Catholocism that nonetheless had a lot of arbitrary, sexist, and puritanical ideas about sexuality that hurt me, but the real hurt came when I moved to the Bible belt and felt pressure to convert to born again Christianity. I eventually did, around the age of sixteen, and that began a few years of self doubt (because I had to "guard my heart" against anything that wasn't christian, including a lot of music, books, and film that I Loved) and a lack of trust in my gut, because, as we were constantly reminded, we could not trust ourselves and could only trust the word of god. Which was often confusing and contradictory. So for a lot of years I struggled with knowing certain ideas were wrong (such as homophobia, use of fear as a way to make people be close to God, or the idea that women should have a limited role in religious life) but not being able to trust myself to challenge them in case I was simply being influenced by "the devil."

The biggest thing for me was that I was constantly encouraged to actively go against my heart. The idea of exclusivity, that I should encourage people to believe in Jesus because of the fear of hell, that all really gets to me and makes me ashamed of my early participation in that culture.

Now, I have encountered Christians with less harmful ideas and I have generally made peace with that part of my life. I am a traditional witch and have a solitary practice primarily of hedgework and contemplative practices from Tibetan Buddhism, which I studied for several years. It fits me beautifully and I feel no guilt or fear around abandoning those old ideas, but I do feel bad if I ever encouraged anyone else to follow that path (though I know everyone has their own learning).

Aisling

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Re: Question for those hurt by religious background
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2018, 10:17:54 pm »
I grew up in a kind of lossey-goosey cultural Catholocism that nonetheless had a lot of arbitrary, sexist, and puritanical ideas about sexuality that hurt me, but the real hurt came when I moved to the Bible belt and felt pressure to convert to born again Christianity. I eventually did, around the age of sixteen, and that began a few years of self doubt (because I had to "guard my heart" against anything that wasn't christian, including a lot of music, books, and film that I Loved) and a lack of trust in my gut, because, as we were constantly reminded, we could not trust ourselves and could only trust the word of god. Which was often confusing and contradictory. So for a lot of years I struggled with knowing certain ideas were wrong (such as homophobia, use of fear as a way to make people be close to God, or the idea that women should have a limited role in religious life) but not being able to trust myself to challenge them in case I was simply being influenced by "the devil."

The biggest thing for me was that I was constantly encouraged to actively go against my heart. The idea of exclusivity, that I should encourage people to believe in Jesus because of the fear of hell, that all really gets to me and makes me ashamed of my early participation in that culture.

Now, I have encountered Christians with less harmful ideas and I have generally made peace with that part of my life. I am a traditional witch and have a solitary practice primarily of hedgework and contemplative practices from Tibetan Buddhism, which I studied for several years. It fits me beautifully and I feel no guilt or fear around abandoning those old ideas, but I do feel bad if I ever encouraged anyone else to follow that path (though I know everyone has their own learning).


Hi Letty,

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EclecticWheel

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Re: Question for those hurt by religious background
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2018, 06:11:15 am »
These questions are aimed at those who come from religious backgrounds that were harmful or toxic for them whether as a child or adult, but I don't mind others joining in of course.

What is your religious background?  Why was it a bad fit for you?

Did you manage to heal from your experiences?  What did that journey look like?  How did you manage to heal?

What is different about your current religious practice that makes it a better fit for you?

I may reply to this later.

My original background was Oneness Pentecostalism.  I was not raised in it, actually.  I wasn't raised with any religious tradition other than the night time prayer "Now I lay me down to sleep..." that has been passed down in my mother's family for at least a couple of generations.

But I was always spiritual, and when I began actively seeking out a religion at age 10 I converted to the religious tradition of my father's family which was Oneness Pentecostalism.  After some months of seeking and praying at that age, I woke up and knew it was the day, and i had a transformative ecstatic experience about an hour later.  To this day I do not reject that experience.  It was not contrived -- it was pure ecstasy that made me tremble over and over and hit me in wave after wave, and I am ever grateful for it.

But the religion was a bad fit for me.  I developed obsessions over religious morality from a young age that were even more extreme than the religion I was in, but the religion precipitated it with its strict moral codes.  I read the Bible systematically from the time I was age ten, and by the time I was fourteen I could not reconcile the views I was being taught with the scriptures themselves.

I was taught that scripture was infallible, that it had no contradictions.  I cannot prove that it is not "infallible" because that term is subject to much interpretation, but it certainly does have contradictions.  I lost my faith, and I had a psychotic break.

I managed to heal from my psychoses by seeking out new forms of spirituality, but it took a long time.  That began with the New Age movement, but eventually I found many New Age claims to be too incredible and sometimes even anti-intellectual.  It also did not heal my psychoses.

I began attending rather traditional liturgical Methodist services which had communion open to anyone, even non-Christians, and in my own pantheist way at that time I one day made the observation, "This bread is God!"  And I went home so joyful.

At around the same time I read John Shelby Spong's Liberating the Gospels: Reading the Bible with Jewish Eyes.  Though I have a different approach to theology and spirituality from Spong in many respects, this book really helped me to rediscover for myself Christian imagery.  It came alive for me again.  I also discovered a painting of Jesus as a female being crucified and her purse (purple robe) being looted by ministers, and I related to it.  I understood the oppression this painting was meant to convey, especially as a gay man.

I also discovered that not all Christianity was anti-intellectual.  Though I couldn't fully agree with it now or then, I respected Catholicism as I read the catechism for its intellectual side.

Eventually I discovered the Episcopal Church where I found my home.  I became enamored of the Eucharist in the Methodist Church, and that deepened in the Episcopal Church.  There I have been permitted the freedom to question.  I have been given a broad sense and definition of tradition through which to interpret the Bible, an ongoing tradition, rather than being stifled by a fundamentalist view that I couldn't reconcile with.  And I've been given the freedom to reinterpret when I need to, while staying in conversation and community with more traditional Christians, and to come to my own conclusions.

Eventually through my pursuit of spirituality I found that I no longer experienced psychosis, at least not the way I had before.  When things are going wrong mentally, I'm able to recognize it for what it is instead of falling prey to delusions.
My personal moral code:

Love wisely, and do what thou wilt.

Jainarayan

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Re: Question for those hurt by religious background
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2018, 10:36:34 am »
These questions are aimed at those who come from religious backgrounds that were harmful or toxic for them whether as a child or adult, but I don't mind others joining in of course.

What is your religious background?  Why was it a bad fit for you?

Roman Catholic. As a gay man married to another man I'm not welcome. Also, and probably more importantly. I came to not believe the theology.

Quote
Did you manage to heal from your experiences?  What did that journey look like?  How did you manage to heal?

Yes, though I never really felt wounded. I drifted away from Christianity (I was Eastern Orthodox for a while after I left Catholicism) over the course of 10-15 years.

Quote
What is different about your current religious practice that makes it a better fit for you?

The theology and cosmology of Hinduism makes more sense to me and is in line with what I've pretty much always believed. There is no dogma or central authority, no reward and punishment, no angry or jealous God. It's not a free-for-all because there are certain basic tenets, but the worshiper is pretty much free to believe as he or she believes. Hinduism is welcoming of everyone. We don't push it on people or insist it's the only true way, there are many others.
śivāya vishnu rūpaya śivaḥ rūpaya vishnave
śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ
Vishnu's appearance is Shiva; Shiva's appearance is Vishnu
Vishnu is the heart of Shiva; Shiva is the heart of Vishnu - Skandopanishad
 

arete

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Re: Question for those hurt by religious background
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2019, 11:14:32 am »
These questions are aimed at those who come from religious backgrounds that were harmful or toxic for them whether as a child or adult, but I don't mind others joining in of course.

What is your religious background?  Why was it a bad fit for you?

Did you manage to heal from your experiences?  What did that journey look like?  How did you manage to heal?

What is different about your current religious practice that makes it a better fit for you?

I may reply to this later.
I was taught Orthodoxy at school. They taught us about Satan and how rock music is Satanic. Now I am laughing with it but when I was a kid I was truly scared. Thankfuly, that's the only bad experience I have with religion.  :)

EnderDragonFire

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Re: Question for those hurt by religious background
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2019, 12:43:18 pm »
The theology and cosmology of Hinduism makes more sense to me and is in line with what I've pretty much always believed. There is no dogma or central authority, no reward and punishment, no angry or jealous God. It's not a free-for-all because there are certain basic tenets, but the worshiper is pretty much free to believe as he or she believes. Hinduism is welcoming of everyone. We don't push it on people or insist it's the only true way, there are many others.

Well said. Couldn't have put it better myself.

For me, though, I was never Catholic, but rather protestant, and I drifted into a period of atheism before I adopted Hinduism.
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

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