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Author Topic: Overcoming personal skepticisms and childhood guilt  (Read 3007 times)

Serenjai

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Overcoming personal skepticisms and childhood guilt
« on: July 18, 2014, 04:26:14 am »
Hello :)  I am a long time lurker and would like to start by saying thank you for all the invaluable support and information that I have found here over the years.

To give a little background, I was raised in a strict Christian household.  My parents were (and still are) missionaries to India.  I even went with them to India on a missionary trip when I was 13.  This was an unexplainable wonder and joy to me for so many reasons but also became a catalyst for my religious curiosity, much to my parents dismay.  There was a moment on that trip when we had stopped at a store and I wandered into a small Hindu temple next door to it.  I was enthralled, it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and so different from anything I had ever experienced.  I felt things when I stood there.  My dad came to find me and I was reluctant to leave.  He scolded me quite harshly for this and actually looked embarrassed because I wanted to stay and look around.

I had many books about Greek and Egyptian mythologies growing up (which were considered "safe" because they were fictional according to my parents) and became even more fascinated with learning all I could about other religions once we got back from India but all my research had to be done in secret.  

I had never felt any kind of connection to my parents faith and resented them and it very much.  Since the Christian religion had been so forced upon me since literally birth, it has been extremely hard overcoming that way of thinking. Even though I don't believe (and never have) what they do, any time I have tried to set up my own path I feel blocked by so many years of Christian influence.

I feel very drawn to Ganesha, Aphrodite, Hathor and Thoth.  I have read so much about them all and continue to do so.  I have had a small altar for a while and I have loose rituals I perform.  I find it beautiful and comforting.

But there is always a tiny voice in the back of my head that is saying, "This is wrong, there are no other gods!  It's Sunday morning, why aren't you putting on your church shoes!"  It weighs me down and is so discouraging.  

I know this is probably something that will never go away but I feel that it hampers any real personal spiritual progress that I long for.

Have any of you dealt with something similar?  What helped you overcome it?

Thanks so much for reading this longwinded ramble.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2014, 04:34:11 am by Serenjai »

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Re: Overcoming personal skepticisms and childhood guilt
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2014, 05:29:39 am »
Quote from: Serenjai;153221

I know this is probably something that will never go away but I feel that it hampers any real personal spiritual progress that I long for.

Have any of you dealt with something similar?  What helped you overcome it?

Thanks so much for reading this longwinded ramble.

"God", whichever god, is very possible that inner voice within you. Let it express itself, let it explore, and let it hold onto the things in your past that touched you. Because this is your journey, not God's journey, not Aphrodite's journey, not Ganesha's journey.  It's yours and not anywhere near over. Don't lose sight of that in favor of what some possible deity may think or feel. Do it for you, not for some idea of the divine. Because you'll find the divine inside, and not in some feeble imitation which you may think is the appropriate method.
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Airelinn

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Re: Overcoming personal skepticisms and childhood guilt
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2014, 01:01:18 pm »
Quote from: Serenjai;153221

Have any of you dealt with something similar?  What helped you overcome it?

Thanks so much for reading this longwinded ramble.

Thanks for your story! I enjoyed it, and can sympathize in some ways. My dad (my mom wasn't there, growing up) was never particularly religious...more scientific and philosophical. I was lucky because he's very open-minded and curious about other cultures and ideas.

In my preteens, however, I joined an Assembly of God youth group with my friends and they were much less forgiving so I got to learn and experience that side of things. The co-pastor was the principal of my school and actually called a friend of mine and I into his office to lecture us about black magic, voodoo, and Satan all while holding his bible.

While those were not huge influences in my life, they and regular societal influences still sometimes crop up in my mind to make me feel guilt and anxiety. Buddhism helped me with that most of all...it's a philosophical approach I like to use to help with emotional things like that. :)

The other big struggle is talking about my spirituality with others in this town or with my parents. I mostly avoid the topic, unfortunately. Most people I know would be uncomfortable with it at best, and then there are a few that would probably insist I go to church with them because I need to get in touch with their God. :/

Serenjai

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Re: Overcoming personal skepticisms and childhood guilt
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2014, 04:04:20 pm »
Quote from: Juniperberry;153225
"God", whichever god, is very possible that inner voice within you. Let it express itself, let it explore, and let it hold onto the things in your past that touched you. Because this is your journey, not God's journey, not Aphrodite's journey, not Ganesha's journey.  It's yours and not anywhere near over. Don't lose sight of that in favor of what some possible deity may think or feel. Do it for you, not for some idea of the divine. Because you'll find the divine inside, and not in some feeble imitation which you may think is the appropriate method.


Thanks very much for your reply!

Serenjai

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Re: Overcoming personal skepticisms and childhood guilt
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2014, 04:05:28 pm »
Quote from: Airelinn;153239
Thanks for your story! I enjoyed it, and can sympathize in some ways. My dad (my mom wasn't there, growing up) was never particularly religious...more scientific and philosophical. I was lucky because he's very open-minded and curious about other cultures and ideas.

In my preteens, however, I joined an Assembly of God youth group with my friends and they were much less forgiving so I got to learn and experience that side of things. The co-pastor was the principal of my school and actually called a friend of mine and I into his office to lecture us about black magic, voodoo, and Satan all while holding his bible.

While those were not huge influences in my life, they and regular societal influences still sometimes crop up in my mind to make me feel guilt and anxiety. Buddhism helped me with that most of all...it's a philosophical approach I like to use to help with emotional things like that. :)

The other big struggle is talking about my spirituality with others in this town or with my parents. I mostly avoid the topic, unfortunately. Most people I know would be uncomfortable with it at best, and then there are a few that would probably insist I go to church with them because I need to get in touch with their God. :/

 
Thanks for this!  There are some wonderful Buddhist philosophies that I have come across over the years; I will have to take a closer look at some of them.

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Re: Overcoming personal skepticisms and childhood guilt
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2014, 05:06:25 am »
Quote from: Serenjai;153221


I feel very drawn to Ganesha, Aphrodite, Hathor and Thoth.  I have read so much about them all and continue to do so.  I have had a small altar for a while and I have loose rituals I perform.  I find it beautiful and comforting.

But there is always a tiny voice in the back of my head that is saying, "This is wrong, there are no other gods!  It's Sunday morning, why aren't you putting on your church shoes!"  It weighs me down and is so discouraging.  

I know this is probably something that will never go away but I feel that it hampers any real personal spiritual progress that I long for.

Have any of you dealt with something similar?  What helped you overcome it?

Thanks so much for reading this longwinded ramble.

 
I grew up non religious, but my dad discouraged anything that was not verified by science. He did not like me reading mythology, folklore, or science fiction. I even had to speak to a family councilor once because he hated my high school vampire obsession so much (if we only knew back then). I had some basic Wiccan books mixed in with my anthropology books and he called them all voodoo. He did go on a God rampage when I was in 12th grade and that was all kinds of fun. My mom thought my books were interesting, she even liked reading about herbalism.

Sometimes parents don't know how to behave when their kids turn out to be free thinkers. I will never tell my parents or my husband's family my personal beliefs, because I don't want them to feel obligated to try and "save" me.

endlessGalaxy

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Re: Overcoming personal skepticisms and childhood guilt
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2014, 12:58:14 pm »
Quote from: Serenjai;153221
Hello :)  I am a long time lurker and would like to start by saying thank you for all the invaluable support and information that I have found here over the years.

To give a little background, I was raised in a strict Christian household.  My parents were (and still are) missionaries to India.  I even went with them to India on a missionary trip when I was 13.  This was an unexplainable wonder and joy to me for so many reasons but also became a catalyst for my religious curiosity, much to my parents dismay.  There was a moment on that trip when we had stopped at a store and I wandered into a small Hindu temple next door to it.  I was enthralled, it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and so different from anything I had ever experienced.  I felt things when I stood there.  My dad came to find me and I was reluctant to leave.  He scolded me quite harshly for this and actually looked embarrassed because I wanted to stay and look around.

I had many books about Greek and Egyptian mythologies growing up (which were considered "safe" because they were fictional according to my parents) and became even more fascinated with learning all I could about other religions once we got back from India but all my research had to be done in secret.  

I had never felt any kind of connection to my parents faith and resented them and it very much.  Since the Christian religion had been so forced upon me since literally birth, it has been extremely hard overcoming that way of thinking. Even though I don't believe (and never have) what they do, any time I have tried to set up my own path I feel blocked by so many years of Christian influence.

I feel very drawn to Ganesha, Aphrodite, Hathor and Thoth.  I have read so much about them all and continue to do so.  I have had a small altar for a while and I have loose rituals I perform.  I find it beautiful and comforting.

But there is always a tiny voice in the back of my head that is saying, "This is wrong, there are no other gods!  It's Sunday morning, why aren't you putting on your church shoes!"  It weighs me down and is so discouraging.  

I know this is probably something that will never go away but I feel that it hampers any real personal spiritual progress that I long for.

Have any of you dealt with something similar?  What helped you overcome it?

Thanks so much for reading this longwinded ramble.


I was raised quasi relgious.  It was moreso my mom who was raised strictly in the Church, then fell away as a adult and tried to get our family to be part of the Church, partially out of guilt.  She's still apprehensive about all this witchcraft stuff, but I just remind her that the Catholic Church is filled with ritual and if you want to look at it that way, witchcraft!  She let it go when I told her she brought us every Sunday to a place where we performed a ritual and drank and man's blood and ate his body (the Catholic Church believes that the Eucharist is *literally* the body and blood of Christ after the ritual has been performed.  Many Catholics don't know that.).  Part of the reason I didn't follow this path back in high school was because of how she silently judged me.  

I have had mental health problems (depression and anxiety, nothing incredibly serious) since birth and she thinks I'm ~*~losing it*~* whenever I renew my passion for witchcraft. It's like, seriously... part of the reason I get depressed is because I don't let myself do things that make me happy!  Witchcraft is only one of those things, but it's definitely in there.  

Just remember that your parents can't pick you path for you...I find with many people that parents have a hard time swallowing the fact their children aren't actually *their's*.  Sure, you're their child, but you are also your own person and have to find your own way that is apart from them.  Parents sometimes expect little clones of them, and are shocked when someone completely different shows up!

SilverSpring

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Re: Overcoming personal skepticisms and childhood guilt
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2014, 04:03:08 pm »
Quote from: Serenjai;153221
Hello :)  I am a long time lurker and would like to start by saying thank you for all the invaluable support and information that I have found here over the years.

To give a little background, I was raised in a strict Christian household.  My parents were (and still are) missionaries to India.  I even went with them to India on a missionary trip when I was 13.  This was an unexplainable wonder and joy to me for so many reasons but also became a catalyst for my religious curiosity, much to my parents dismay.  There was a moment on that trip when we had stopped at a store and I wandered into a small Hindu temple next door to it.  I was enthralled, it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and so different from anything I had ever experienced.  I felt things when I stood there.  My dad came to find me and I was reluctant to leave.  He scolded me quite harshly for this and actually looked embarrassed because I wanted to stay and look around.

I had many books about Greek and Egyptian mythologies growing up (which were considered "safe" because they were fictional according to my parents) and became even more fascinated with learning all I could about other religions once we got back from India but all my research had to be done in secret.  

I had never felt any kind of connection to my parents faith and resented them and it very much.  Since the Christian religion had been so forced upon me since literally birth, it has been extremely hard overcoming that way of thinking. Even though I don't believe (and never have) what they do, any time I have tried to set up my own path I feel blocked by so many years of Christian influence.

I feel very drawn to Ganesha, Aphrodite, Hathor and Thoth.  I have read so much about them all and continue to do so.  I have had a small altar for a while and I have loose rituals I perform.  I find it beautiful and comforting.

But there is always a tiny voice in the back of my head that is saying, "This is wrong, there are no other gods!  It's Sunday morning, why aren't you putting on your church shoes!"  It weighs me down and is so discouraging.  

I know this is probably something that will never go away but I feel that it hampers any real personal spiritual progress that I long for.

Have any of you dealt with something similar?  What helped you overcome it?

Thanks so much for reading this longwinded ramble.


I was also raised in a very strict catholic household where trying to welsh out of church on Sundays was severely punished.   I never really felt that I 'connected' with my parents religion no matter how hard I tried!  I wanted to feel that connection to god but always just felt weird and self conscious.  I dabbled in witchcraft from about the age of 12 but was terrified and guilty about it.  I just simply could not break out of the mental brainwashing what I had had conditioned into me since birth.  

About three years ago I completely changed my lifestyle.  I only eat organic and clean foods, use all natural organic products in my home and on my body, and spend a lot of time outside in nature.  Suddenly it all clicked for me and I realized that I was NOT going to be afraid of something I absolutely do not believe in.  That was one of the best days and a turning point in my life.  My husband is fully supportive but I am very much in the broom closet because both of our families would FLIP.

Good luck on your path!

Serenjai

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Re: Overcoming personal skepticisms and childhood guilt
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2014, 07:26:59 pm »
Quote from: Freesia;153505

Sometimes parents don't know how to behave when their kids turn out to be free thinkers. I will never tell my parents or my husband's family my personal beliefs, because I don't want them to feel obligated to try and "save" me.

 
Quote from: endlessGalaxy;153525

Just remember that your parents can't pick you path for you...I find with many people that parents have a hard time swallowing the fact their children aren't actually *their's*.  Sure, you're their child, but you are also your own person and have to find your own way that is apart from them.  Parents sometimes expect little clones of them, and are shocked when someone completely different shows up!


Thank you Freesia and endlessGalaxy.  You both raise very good points concerning parents.  As much as I struggle with my own beliefs and spirituality, I have a tendency to forget that "how I turned out" may be hard for my parents as well.
 
Quote from: SilverSpring;153541

About three years ago I completely changed my lifestyle.  I only eat organic and clean foods, use all natural organic products in my home and on my body, and spend a lot of time outside in nature.  Suddenly it all clicked for me and I realized that I was NOT going to be afraid of something I absolutely do not believe in.  That was one of the best days and a turning point in my life.  My husband is fully supportive but I am very much in the broom closet because both of our families would FLIP.

Good luck on your path!

 
Silverspring, thanks for this!  I am working towards this type of lifestyle change now and it is both scary and fun.  I think that I am hoping for some kind of "it all just kind of clicked" moment and while that may not ever come for me, I am happy that you had that! :)

endlessGalaxy

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Re: Overcoming personal skepticisms and childhood guilt
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2014, 09:07:26 pm »
Quote from: Serenjai;153563
Thank you Freesia and endlessGalaxy.  You both raise very good points concerning parents.  As much as I struggle with my own beliefs and spirituality, I have a tendency to forget that "how I turned out" may be hard for my parents as well.
 


No problem, glad I could help!  :)  I'm sure they will come around and accept it at some point as long as you remain patient and steadfast.  I doubt it's worth them losing a connection with their child over.  Maybe just introduce them at a snail's pace so they don't feel in over their heads!

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Re: Overcoming personal skepticisms and childhood guilt
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2014, 11:56:07 pm »
Quote from: Serenjai;153563
Thank you Freesia and endlessGalaxy.  You both raise very good points concerning parents.  As much as I struggle with my own beliefs and spirituality, I have a tendency to forget that "how I turned out" may be hard for my parents as well.
 

 
Silverspring, thanks for this!  I am working towards this type of lifestyle change now and it is both scary and fun.  I think that I am hoping for some kind of "it all just kind of clicked" moment and while that may not ever come for me, I am happy that you had that! :)

 
I am just now working paganism into a daily practice and letting it organically develop. As a parent and I don't want to confuse my kids by switching paths or pantheons every time I read a new book.

carillion

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Re: Overcoming personal skepticisms and childhood guilt
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2014, 05:28:07 pm »
Quote from: Serenjai;153221
Hello :)  I am a long time lurker and would like to start by saying thank you for all the invaluable support and information that I have found here over the years.

 I was enthralled, it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and so different from anything I had ever experienced.  I felt things when I stood there.  My dad came to find me and I was reluctant to leave.  He scolded me quite harshly for this and actually looked embarrassed because I wanted to stay and look around.

birth, it has been extremely hard overcoming that way of thinking. Even though I don't believe (and never have) what they do, any time I have tried to set up my own path I feel blocked by so many years of Christian influence.

carillion

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Re: Overcoming personal skepticisms and childhood guilt
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2014, 05:50:11 pm »
Quote from: Serenjai;153221
Hello :)  I am a long time lurker and would like to start by saying thank you for all the invaluable support and information that I have found here over the years.

 I was enthralled, it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and so different from anything I had ever experienced.  I felt things when I stood there.  My dad came to find me and I was reluctant to leave.  He scolded me quite harshly for this and actually looked embarrassed because I wanted to stay and look around.

birth, it has been extremely hard overcoming that way of thinking. Even though I don't believe (and never have) what they do, any time I have tried to set up my own path I feel blocked by so many years of Christian influence."

The experience you mentioned is, I believe, what starts many people down the path of expanding their belief horizons. Every time I visit a place in the world, especially someplace considered 'sacred' ( temple, mosque, cathedral) when I just sit and 'feel' and look around at the details I begin to get an understanding of how the people who put it up felt and thought (just a little bit).
I was not raised in a religious home but the because the dominant belief system around me was christian, it was hard to go against the grain and consider other avenues . I believe it was having experiences like your own that really opened the way for me to explore further. And of course reading is free.  
I spent time in Muslim country and the Islamic belief system permeated absolutely *everything*. Oddly enough, it was when I was there that I was better able to examine my own personal beliefs because I had no connections to Islam and all other religious ideas had the volume turned to zero.
Your mind will always be the ultimate private place and I have found reserving that space for myself alone helps a great deal. It is natural to want to share our ideas and of course, learn further. But frequently this is solo journey and can feel lonely.
I sometimes think it's just the pure loneliness of the unpopulated road we are drawn to that causes us such discomfort.

(sorry for the cac-handed reply - still learning the system)
« Last Edit: July 24, 2014, 08:41:18 pm by SunflowerP »

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Re: Overcoming personal skepticisms and childhood guilt
« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2014, 09:17:05 pm »
Quote from: carillion;153811
(sorry for the cac-handed reply - still learning the system)

 
Some tips, based on what I had to fix:

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Re: Overcoming personal skepticisms and childhood guilt
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2014, 02:32:45 am »
Quote from: SunflowerP;153828
Some tips, based on what I had to fix:

Unless you're using Tapatalk, the post you're replying to will be quoted automatically; you don't need to do anything extra. If you are using Tapatalk, hold your finger down on the message you wish to reply to until the quote function pops up.

Once you have the quote in the reply box, be careful to leave the BBCode (the square brackets and the stuff inside them) intact. While we do strongly encourage people to trim the quotes, if you're having trouble doing so without affecting the BBCode, it's better to leave them untrimmed.

We have a test forum where you can practice if you want, and a Questions, Suggestions, and Feedback forum where you can ask specific questions about things you're having trouble figuring out (or look at the threads already posted to see if what you need to learn is mentioned), or you can contact a staff member privately for more clarification.

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Thank you! I figured it out but I should have stopped first, taken the time to figure it out and ttthhhheeennnn...posted. I tend to get too enthusiastic with new shiny things and I haven't seen a system like this before. It's a besetting sin of mine:ashamed:

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