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Overcoming a Christian fundamentalist upbringing

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posted on Feb, 9 2012 @ 10:09 PM
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I was actually raised in a household with a pretty stringently Christian father. I wasn't raised in the type of Pentecostal church where they handle the snakes, but there was a lot of speaking in tongues and being "slain in the Spirit" and that sort of thing. My dad was one of those that thought Harry Potter was Satanic, and one of my acts of "rebellion" was reading those books right under his nose


I had secretly always held beliefs that were more pagan in nature, and I lived with my cognitive dissonance until I was about 14 or 15. It really hit me when I was 16, on a mission trip, and realized that I simply couldn't give out those religious pamphlets. I couldn't tell somebody that my religion was right when I wasn't 100% sure, I couldn't give a child something that would tell them they were going to Hell just because they didn't believe the right way.

So I began exploring other faiths, my own thoughts, and I found that each step out of this process to be extremely painful. I could not believe how psychologically painful the act of deprogramming myself was. It was very freeing, but it was also extremely painful.

I'm from a community where Christianity is far and away the dominant religion, and I'm here to tell you that having dissension in the ranks was not going to be tolerated. I was naive enough to think that just questioning things couldn't hurt or pointing out different ways of looking at them could be cool...boy was I wrong. People knew about me being a little heathen, and I was not well received in most circles after that; some kids (and yes even a few teachers) were actively hostile.

I guess the point is that overcoming it is not easy, and it hurts, even for somebody who had misgivings about the whole thing from the beginning. I can't imagine what overcoming a hardcore upbringing of any religion or philosophy would be like for somebody who'd never really questioned it. They would pretty much be rewriting their entire psychological makeup in my estimation, but do you think that's a fair picture?
edit on 9-2-2012 by AnIntellectualRedneck because: (no reason given)




posted on Feb, 9 2012 @ 10:21 PM
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Yea I was raised in a similar upbringing but never really put much stock into the whole religion thing.

Not sure how old you are but it sounds like you still live at home so just go along with the program till your 18 then when you go to college or move out, begin exploring other religions at your leisure. You will find that once your not going to church or religious events constantly that it will be less stressful.



posted on Feb, 9 2012 @ 10:40 PM
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if one particular religion is all someone is ever taught then they will have trouble accepting anything else even when that religion can possibly make them unhappy (for whatever reason) because they know no other way. whether that means total restructure of their psychology i do not know (probably yes but i'm no psychologist), but i think that what is learned can be unlearned even if it's driven into someone for most of their life. very thought provoking indeed. good post
edit on 9/2/2012 by josephamccoy because: changed ''psychological effect'' to ''total restructure of their psychology''



posted on Feb, 9 2012 @ 10:47 PM
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I too had to had to overcome a Catholic upbringing. I would say its likely the most difficult thing ive had to do, but i am sure glad i did it.

Religious belief releases dopamine, the feel good neurotransmitter. From a psychological neuroscientific viewpoint, its very similar to a adrenaline rush, having sex, or doing drugs.

Also we humans seek for purpose, companionship, and social acceptance. Church offers all of these things.

The biggest problem with any belief system, be it religious or not, is that it must reject any new information. One must say, this is the path i have chosen and will follow, and any information which contradicts or threatens that journey will likely be ignored, for the sake of preserving a belief system.

Also, religious belief, belief in God is the foundation of anyone who has been indoctrinated. Not only that, but any and all good things for a believer are attributed to God. It is then very easy to understand why people have such a hard time making the transition away from their indoctrination. It goes against the parents, and likely every good thing that they have attributed to in their life.

The truth never needs to be reinforced. People dont wake up in the morning and fight the urge to believe that 1+1=2, it just is. When people stop going to church, they being to lose faith, because the propaganda is not being reinforced. Needless to say its one big mind%*#$, and my best wishes for those who have to go through it, but once you do, and get through it, you will be glad you did.



posted on Feb, 9 2012 @ 11:08 PM
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Originally posted by AnIntellectualRedneck
I was actually raised in a household with a pretty stringently Christian father. I wasn't raised in the type of Pentecostal church where they handle the snakes, but there was a lot of speaking in tongues and being "slain in the Spirit" and that sort of thing. My dad was one of those that thought Harry Potter was Satanic, and one of my acts of "rebellion" was reading those books right under his nose


I had secretly always held beliefs that were more pagan in nature, and I lived with my cognitive dissonance until I was about 14 or 15. It really hit me when I was 16, on a mission trip, and realized that I simply couldn't give out those religious pamphlets. I couldn't tell somebody that my religion was right when I wasn't 100% sure, I couldn't give a child something that would tell them they were going to Hell just because they didn't believe the right way.

So I began exploring other faiths, my own thoughts, and I found that each step out of this process to be extremely painful. I could not believe how psychologically painful the act of deprogramming myself was. It was very freeing, but it was also extremely painful.

I'm from a community where Christianity is far and away the dominant religion, and I'm here to tell you that having dissension in the ranks was not going to be tolerated. I was naive enough to think that just questioning things couldn't hurt or pointing out different ways of looking at them could be cool...boy was I wrong. People knew about me being a little heathen, and I was not well received in most circles after that; some kids (and yes even a few teachers) were actively hostile.

I guess the point is that overcoming it is not easy, and it hurts, even for somebody who had misgivings about the whole thing from the beginning. I can't imagine what overcoming a hardcore upbringing of any religion or philosophy would be like for somebody who'd never really questioned it. They would pretty much be rewriting their entire psychological makeup in my estimation, but do you think that's a fair picture?
edit on 9-2-2012 by AnIntellectualRedneck because: (no reason given)


100% agree.
I was raised the same way. I ended up being a youth minister and church musician as the years went by. Then one day I discovered philosophy and critical thinking. I started to try my best to disprove all other religions. I then turned that critical thinking to my own beliefs.
I arrived at a point where not only did the idea of "God" seem stupid, but also very "human". I found a mass of contradictions in the bible itself mixed with immoral and selfish commands by a creator who "loves you". "Born sick, and commanded to be healthy" is a good quote to illustrate my point.
This destroyed my world. I had spent 21 years thinking it was all real. My family all had faith, my friends all had faith, and the non-christian world was looking scary. I had nights in tears as I couldn't believe what was happening. The person I spoke to EVERYDAY for 21 years was gone. I became depressed and even had suicidal thoughts. I was alone in an unfamiliar world.
In time I got over it, and then discovered a wonderful life of science and critical thinking.
But those 1st steps were VERY hard times.
edit on 9-2-2012 by Noinoi because: Critical word left out.



posted on Feb, 9 2012 @ 11:17 PM
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I'm sorry you had to go through this I went through something similar, and I have to say I understand. Organized Religion is an excellent control mechanism, and that's evident in that it's the oldest control mechanism.



posted on Feb, 9 2012 @ 11:24 PM
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You are just trying to justify your sin,and that is what most of us do....
But with the power of God we can overcome the sin and we can be with the Lord.

It is simple,either we accept His gift,which is freedom and everlasting life,or die in your sins,forever.
Would you think that i am threatening you if i told you that you must not run over the road or you will certainly die?

Your parents might have raised you with wrong priorities,but they wish only the best for you...man hold on to that bible of yours and search the answers in there,truth is closer than you think.

And while HP books are quite interesting and intriguing,we have little to learn from them,so it serves no purpose to spend our precious time on such book.
I implore you,never let go of bible,study the bible and open your heart to the word of God.



posted on Feb, 9 2012 @ 11:53 PM
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reply to post by faithplusone
 


I'll be honest here: I have no intentions of justifying my sins. I have every intention of embracing them fully and taking responsibility for each and every one of them.

But that's just it; I plan on taking responsibility for them myself, and if God wants to send me to an eternal punishment for finite sins for refusing to throw my guilt onto somebody else, then God has less of a sense of justice than a stupid 26-year-old kid and doesn't deserve my reverence.



posted on Feb, 10 2012 @ 07:10 AM
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I was one who was raised in a very strict Christian home (Southern Baptist and other protestant). I wasn't even aware there were other ways of thinking until I was about 9 years old, when we moved in next door to Catholics. It wasn't until I was in my early thirties that I started seriously questioning my beliefs. And since then, I have been able to get religion and religious thought completely out of my life. I see it for what it is... A control mechanism for those in power and an explanation to calm our curiosity.

They cannot control me if I don't believe and I have become very comfortable in a position of not knowing how we started or what's to come. So, I have no need for religion in my life. I live in the present as much as possible.

I am free of all the guilt, fear and judgment I felt when I was religious. Even after I released religion, it was probably a few years before I could say that I am an atheist. It's been an interesting journey.



posted on Feb, 10 2012 @ 08:40 AM
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Nearly all religions and cults in the world use guilt to control the people. Guilt and, either withholding truthful information, or out and out pushing the false information. Usually it takes a lot of time and a lot of willingness to explore 'truth' for a person to break free of those guilt chains. Education is key. The tighter the upper control mechanisms are on that religion .. the less truth the people actually know.

Examples

Christians - both protestant and catholic - are told that David wrote the biblical psalms. But the TRUTH is that many of them are from ancient egypt (predating David) and can be found on the ancient walls as hymns of praise to the Egyptian sun-god. But if you tell a fundamentalist that .. you'll get spit at as someone in league with the devil.

Muslims are told that Abraham was in Mecca and built a temple there. That's absolutely impossible. But if you tell them that, you'll get threatened with Qu'ran verses and told that the 12th Imam will chop off your head.

Christians are told that Adam and Eve were real, that they were created something like 6,000 years ago and that we all have original sin because of Adam and Eve. But the truth is the earth is billions of years old and the Adam and Eve creation myth was stolen from a story in Ancient Summeria. Ditto the Noahs Ark myth. Tell a real Catholic that there is no 'original sin' and you'll get the evil eye and a sad shake of the head. Tell a fundamentalist that the world is not 6,000 years old like the bible says and you'll get an arguement about proof. (and when you present the proof ... it gets ignored)

Amish are threatened with hellfire and expulsion from the community if the youth want to leave to go to college and get an education.

The only way to break the guilt hold is education .. but getting it to people is hard.



posted on Feb, 10 2012 @ 12:30 PM
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reply to post by AnIntellectualRedneck
 

I too was raised in a Fundamentalist Christian environment, and made to pray, and made to go to church every time to doors opened. I got so tired of hearing of Satan, Demons, and Hell all the time. But, thankfully, the preacher, in answer to a few questions I had, told me to go home and read the Bible, little knowing that I would make it a research project.
Ever since early childhood, I always thought of God as being a Female, and when I heard the "voice of God, " it was a Female voice. I just could never wrap my mind around three males creating everything, and even today it makes no sense at all. I know that I did not spring from the loins of a male, and that no one did, so how do Christians believe this anyway? Then when I found out out just how cruel and jealous the God in the Bible is, I left Christianity for good. Now I try to educate Christians about their book, and the origins of their religion, but am mostly met with hate, and loathing, and called names, and insulted. Just this morning because I had a question, I was called a follower of Lucifer. Christians in here are so filled with hate for anyone who is educated in religious theology and history that you dare not to question them.



posted on Feb, 10 2012 @ 12:43 PM
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reply to post by FlyersFan
 




Amish are threatened with hellfire and expulsion from the community if the youth want to leave to go to college and get an education.

I was with ya until this last statement. To my knowledge, the Amish youth are allowed to leave and decide whether or not to come back.
Here's a link to the rumspringa (normal developmental adolescent rebellion and how various communities deal with it):
en.wikipedia.org...

Some Amish youth do indeed separate themselves from the community, even going to live among the "English", or non-Amish North Americans, experiencing modern technology and perhaps even experimenting with sex, alcohol and illegal drugs. Their behavior during this time represents no necessary bar to returning for adult baptism into the Amish church.

Most of them do not wander far from their family's homes during this time, and large numbers ultimately choose to join the church. However this proportion varies from community to community, and within a community between more and less acculturated Amish. For example, Swartzendruber Amish have a higher retention rate than the New Order Amish within the Holmes County, Ohio community.[citation needed] This figure was significantly lower as recently as the 1950s. Desertion from the Amish community is not a long-term trend, and was more of a problem in the early colonial years.[7]:102



edit on 10-2-2012 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 10 2012 @ 02:09 PM
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Well i'll tell you a little about my life. I was physically, mentally and emotionally abused by my dad from the age of 3 until i was 17, nearly 18. My dad was a pentecostal that went to Assemblies of God. I was beaten on a daily basis, sometimes punched in the face or gut, called a MF....told i was worthless and that i should just take a knife and kill myself because i'd never amount to anything. I went to the church pastor and told him about it and he told me that i was lying and would go to hell if i didn't repent. My dad was a very good manipulator, he had them all believing he was the next best thing to Christ. So i went to my youth pastor and he believed me. It caused a huge fight within the church and it tore that church apart and the half that believed me went to another church. It still didn't free me from my predicament.

I rebelled, and ran away to my mom's here in arkansas and have been here ever since. I was angry at God for not saving me when i begged him to everyday. You cannot know what it was like living in terror every day unless you'd been there. I was angry at Yahweh and Yahshua both because i felt like they had abandoned me. I started getting into drugs to ease my pain, and then i became sexually promiscuous and at one point a sex addict. I tried everything in the world to fill that hole in my heart, even tried pagan god's like Thor or Zues and then dabbled in spiritualism and witchcraft. For 14 years i walked alone under the blackest cloud of darkness a person could ever experience. I hated myself and everyone else and if there had been a red button in front of me labeled "nuke the entire world" i would have pushed it. I just wanted to die and get it done with. I was consumed by hatred and anger. I did my best to forget the name of God (Yahweh) and forget Yahshua (who many call Jesus).

One day i was taking some kids to a local church for an event the church had which was bowling and skating. The church had been renovated and made from a bowling alley and old skating rink. The deacon invited me to come to church that sunday, but i had misgivings. I didn't trust anyone that called themselves a christian and i had stopped calling myself that 14-15 years ago. Something in me changed, i was tired of being consumed by hate and anger. I felt like i had been fighting a battle for 14 years and no matter what i did i couldn't win. In the end i just wanted to find inner peace, and i had the need for redemption because i had done things i couldn't take back, and things i couldn't apologize for to my sister who died at the age of 21 just after my rebellion and decent into evil. I needed redemption and there was only God in all the universe that was offering it and that is Yahweh through his son Yahshua. So i began going to that Baptist missionary church made out of the old bowling alley and skating rink. I've been going there a year now and i found my inner peace after i repented and asked Yahshua to forgive me and light my way through the darkness once more. Turns out that even though Yahweh didn't strike my dad dead like i had asked for, he gave me the strength to survive and find my way home to him and it worked out for the better for me in the long run. Yahweh does things in his own time and not always when we want him to do it but when we need him to the most.

I found out years later the reason my dad was so crazy was because he was bi-polar and was going untreated and undiagnosed. If Yahweh had struck my dad dead he would have been killing a man who had a severe mental illness through no fault of his own. I'm glad he didn't now, and now i actually talk to my dad and visit him occasionally and he apologized for mistreating my brother and I while we were growing up. My dad blames himself for the things he's done and he should to a degree, but i forgive him nonethless. Until you learn to forgive, you can never learn to love. I can forgive and let things go, when before i held onto them and it poisoned my soul.
edit on 10-2-2012 by lonewolf19792000 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 10 2012 @ 02:41 PM
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reply to post by AnIntellectualRedneck
 


I will say this, just because you grew up in a house that held standards, but yet you chose rebellion, simply means it is your own disbelief. You never believed and therefore, you were never born again. So right now, you are still in rebellion.

Just because I stand in a garage does not make me a car. Would it be easier for you to just say you never believed? There is nothing wrong with being honest about why you think a certain way. It seems you are trying to belittle your dad for having standards, which you have been doing all along, you read Harry Potter as an act of rebellion, therefore, you are not above showing disrespect for your father's faith.

You go through a thousand words to try to convince us you are honorable by belittling your father and his faith. Your rebellion shows the disrespect and you continue in it on here by trying to throw him under the bus just so someone else can agree with you and perhaps you feel a little less guilty about belittling your father.

Why don't you just say you never believed in Jesus? Is that so hard for people to do? No, people like you always want the world to belittle your parents as well so you tell us about "evil" things they do. So your father had standards, why was it so hard to respect him for having them? So you don't believe, that is all you had to say. But to tell us you were willingly rebellious, that just means you did not like his rules. Good for you, now why don't you try to show tolerance of him, like people like you always demand from everyone else?



posted on Feb, 10 2012 @ 02:51 PM
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reply to post by WarminIndy
 



BTW, Lonewolf and Autowrench have shared very real reasons for why they choose to believe the way they do. Be honest like them and just come out and say it was your own reason, and not one formed in an act of rebellion. When you become mature, you will see things differently and really, I see no reason to base your whole faith system on being rebellious.

Lonewolf and Autowrench may be in different walks, but at least they have presented to us real reasons. Nothing in what you have said indicates to me that your life was terrible, just that you were rebellious to a "stringent" upbringing. You have not told us about mental or physical abuse or psychological torture. No, you were simply rebellious to standards your father had for how he ran his house. That seems to be very intolerant toward your father.



posted on Feb, 10 2012 @ 06:36 PM
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reply to post by WarminIndy
 


Dude, the fact that you can read my story and see it as me doing it for rebellion lets me know that you will literally never understand and utterly misunderstood every word that I wrote.

Leaving it hurt, undoing all that programming was excruciatingly painful, so your insinuation that I did it for some petty thing like rebellion is astoundingly arrogant, condescending, and insulting.

I ran into people like you every single day as a kid, and I can tell you one thing that I learned really quick: people like me scare the crap out of most of you. I chose a different path because I chose to trust my own heart more than some book, and that makes you lot uncomfortable. It might be because you wish you had the guts to do the same, it might be because it makes me different, and it might be because you've been conditioned to believe that everybody who doesn't believe exactly like you is out to get you and wants nothing more than for Christianity to crumble.

But in the end, I trusted my own heart and mind over what I was told by other people, and that's really all there was to it.



posted on Feb, 10 2012 @ 08:24 PM
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I ran into people like you every single day as a kid, and I can tell you one thing that I learned really quick: people like me scare the crap out of most of you. I chose a different path because I chose to trust my own heart more than some book, and that makes you lot uncomfortable. It might be because you wish you had the guts to do the same, it might be because it makes me different, and it might be because you've been conditioned to believe that everybody who doesn't believe exactly like you is out to get you and wants nothing more than for Christianity to crumble.

But in the end, I trusted my own heart and mind over what I was told by other people, and that's really all there was to it.
AnIntell....
Thank you for writing this post. You stated it beautifully. I truly am struggling...seeking....and I still keep coming back to this place of follow where your heart goes.
And, it's not to "church"


edit on 10-2-2012 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 10 2012 @ 08:33 PM
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reply to post by lonewolf19792000
 



In the end i just wanted to find inner peace, and i had the need for redemption because i had done things i couldn't take back, and things i couldn't apologize for to my sister who died at the age of 21 just after my rebellion and decent into evil. I needed redemption and there was only God in all the universe that was offering it and that is Yahweh through his son Yahshua.

lonewolf, I want to thank you for this disclosure. It very much helps me understand all the other things you post.

In the unlikely event that you would be interested in feedback, I'd say it sounds as if you are still pretty angry.

What happened to your sister?



posted on Feb, 10 2012 @ 08:34 PM
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reply to post by AnIntellectualRedneck
 

I was actually raised in a household with a pretty stringently Christian father.

Lucky for me we are both alive and I talked to my father for over an hour yesterday and the conversation included plans for his upcoming ninetieth birthday party. The point being we have had time to get over all of that and see pretty much eye to eye on the subject. To quote him, "It's all about how you treat other people."

If we want to get all weepy, my story would be seven years ago when a friend stopped by and I had never seen her so happy and she looked radiant and told me she was not an addict all the time and it was actually a recent sort of thing where she was a successful career woman with a doctor's degree. Anyway she had come by looking for my room mate who wasn't there so we had a talk while I was getting ready to go to work, (second shift, so this was around noon). So she was this junky friend of this woman who was living at my house and she normally was suffering terribly from some sort of heroin withdrawal or something. She would come over some times and never go to sleep but just sitting there coughing all night. So here was this person looking all normal and beautiful and talking about how she was a cheerleader in high school and I was sitting there looking at her from across the room thinking, "Wow, did I undervalue this person!" Anyway I made a note of it in my diary and weeks later the police came to the door looking for my room mate. I said she wasn't there and the detectives said it was about her friend. I said let me get my diary because I can tell you exactly when I saw her. They looked at it and turned white and said they had determined that was the day she was murdered, then I turned white, knowing for the first time she was dead and it happened shortly after I dropped her off in town on my way to work. I woke up crying this morning because of her and it bothers me. She had a degree in theology and I have to hope she is in heaven.
edit on 10-2-2012 by jmdewey60 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 10 2012 @ 08:57 PM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 


She died from complications from Cystic Fibrosis 6 months after she had her first son. She knew having him would be the death of her but she wanted to bring something into this world free of her affliction. She died leaving something of herself in this world, a part of her that would go on.

We were actually pretty close, we just had a falling out and she went into a coma, I tried to apologize for things i had said to her when she was lying there unconcious. I'd like to think she heard me, but i'm not going to delude myself. She didn't die alone, i was there too, i could do at least that much. She believed in Yahshua and thats good enough for me and maybe i'll see her again at the end of the road if i am found worthy enough.
edit on 10-2-2012 by lonewolf19792000 because: (no reason given)




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