Fear kept me faithful

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Montys

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Fear kept me faithful
« on: April 29, 2017, 01:04:12 AM »
I was born into an evangelical Christian family, but I've been skeptical of religion and God for most of my life. I didn't even do the "Jesus prayer" as we called it until I was 7 years old, and when I did, the youth pastor isolated me from the rest of the children and held onto my arm despite me crying and begging him to let me go because I was uncomfortable. I only did the prayer because he told me I was crying because the Holy Spirit was moving me to repent and I would be separated from Jesus forever if I didn't pray. Instead of other adults being alarmed at how I was treated, they gave me congratulations cards.

The first two times I had a panic attack was at a church camp, and the same youth pastor scolded me when I asked if I could go back to my cabin because I was feeling ill, and I had a panic attack in front of everyone and had a horrible episode of derealization. No one asked me if I was okay or if I needed help. I was 10 at that point.

I bring that up because I then developed a deathly fear of death, more specifically of going to *, because I read the book of Revelations at that summer camp. When school started back up I was moved up to the junior high youth group and I had a new youth group leader who frequently made it a point to say lukewarm Christians (or Christians who had any kind of doubt about God) wouldn't get into heaven, and I frequently doubted God.  It didn't help that I now had multiple full-blown anxiety disorders, and all any of the Christian adults in my life could tell me was that I was only like that because I allowed the Devil to take over my life. I prayed to God every night begging for forgiveness. I thought I was possessed. I lost 20 pounds from not eating due to anxiety.

It took me until I was 17 to finally admit to myself that I didn't believe in God, but even then, I still have nightmares about going to *. I was in denial about the possibility that maybe religion traumatized me until a few weeks ago now when I woke up having a panic attack, and the first thing out of my mouth was "I don't want to die" because I had dreamt about going to *. And I feel guilty because I still hold up a Christian facade and a lot of people tell me I'm like this holy woman of Jesus (they don't know I'm actually a trans man, I'm still in the closet), and because whenever anyone starts talking about their Christian faith I get sick to my stomach. I don't want to be converted back or told I'm being prayed for because it was such an awful experience for me. I try living day to day life, but these memories of church come back to me so often and upset me daily.

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Three Roses

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Re: Fear kept me faithful
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2017, 02:31:03 AM »
I get sad and angry when I hear about people, especially children, being treated like you were. I'm sorry you went thru all that. :hug:

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sanmagic7

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Re: Fear kept me faithful
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2017, 05:44:03 AM »
i hate when children are treated like you describe.  very sorry you had to go through that, montys.   that whole religious control crapola, holding heaven, *, sin, eternity, etc. over our heads to manipulate us to do what someone else wants us to do makes my blood boil.  i'm not a fan of organized religion or evangelists, either.  i feel much more comforted with the spirituality i've created for myself over the years.

it was scary for me, too, when i first said it out loud that i'm not a christian anymore (i was raised in a very progressive lutheran church, loved our pastor, but couldn't come to terms with too many things i read about in the bible).   you're questioning a lot now, but i don't doubt you'll find your way to what is comfortable for you.  (no wonder you don't like being touched!)   cyber hug!

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Blackbird

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Re: Fear kept me faithful
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2017, 05:15:37 PM »
I'm sorry you went through all that, it's absolutely horrible.

I don't know if this helps, but try to think of the books as fiction and metaphorical guides and see if you fit into that kind of thinking.

I studied a lot of religions and I am what they call a panatheist I suppose, I beleive everything was once created but I don't attribute that creation to something Man can even comprehend. Or do I believe that some sort of god was able to talk down from a few people and throw on a few rules for us to abide, and then go and do that multiple times all across different religions with different rules. That way I navigate through religions and science in a more reasonable way, the truth of the matter is that I do not know what happens when I die, most likely it will all become blank and it will all end, that will be peaceful. If it's reincarnation, then so be it. If there is a * for bad people, we won't go there for not believing in a single god of one book, for sure, we didn't do anything wrong, just questioning the existence of god is one of life's great miracles. "Where are we?" "Why are we here?" "Who created us?" are questions with impossible answers, that some folks tried to answer and manipulate people into following them. Luckily, you are able to see through that, with great hardship. I think you're very brave.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2017, 05:19:05 PM by Blackbird »