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Breakdown to Breakthrough

Discussion in 'Seekers Circle' started by sunsplash, Sep 3, 2010.

  1. sunsplash

    sunsplash Freckled

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    I journaled this a few days back and decided I want some opinions and help because just releasing the thoughts from my mind to think about in a different way, isn't helping.

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    I think I've finally realized a huge obstacle in my search - one that I put there and never realized or perhaps never acknowledged was a problem, but it needs to be addressed.

    Anytime someone brings up how you need Jesus to be saved or happy, posts scripture or talks about Christianity on facebook, I get extremely angry. A really deep rooted anger, and this isn't good. I don't like anger, especially persistent anger - it isn't healthy - and in this case I don't even know WHY I'm angry. No other religion makes me feel this way, in fact, I enjoy hearing about how others are spiritually fulfilled in their faith, how a deep meditation was soothing, or shabbat was so wonderful. But when it comes to Christians, I have a complete adverse reaction. I get ****** off to the point of having to consciously tell myself to shut up before I say something uncalled for, ignorant, and unbecoming of myself because I don't want those horrible feelings to be a reflection of who I am, because this is NOT the person I know myself to be!

    Is it Christianity that I'm angry at? Or the arrogant Christians that make up the majority of friends and family in my life? I think it's a combination of both. My love and respect for Judaism and how it was twisted and contorted to fit this new breed of religion so far detatched from it's "origin" that it's hardly recognizable, causes me anger. Constantly hearing from people who have "found the way" and "know" that this one religion is right and true for all and others are false, and want to "educate" non-Christians and Christians alike, feeling the need to "remind" them of how to live correctly, almost like they think "they" are superior because they've figured it out and have to hold others below them "accountable" for things that should be none of their damn business, causes me anger. I really hate proselytization - and I try to never use the word hate.

    I need to expell these feelings. I thought I was so completely open minded and really appreciated and respected every faith and practitioner, and while that is mostly true, I'd be lying if I attributed those towards the Christ Crew. I shouldn't get so frustrated and angry and feel physically ill when I hear people happy and proud in their spiritual walk - but when it is forced into my life, like I can't catch a breath without hearing about it, I don't know how to stop these feelings, to stop caring and live life for me.

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    Have any of you experienced emotions like this, while being a seeker or even while apart of a religon? How do you just let these feeling go, get over them, and move on? I used to question how a person or group could have ignorant hatred towards another, and while I don't hate Christianity, I shouldn't have so many negative feelings about something that has nothing to do with me anymore. I need a spiritual cleanse - I felt so free when I left and what other people thought didn't matter to me because I knew it was right for me - but now I'm always defensive and constantly annoyed, frustrated, and almost offended when it comes to anything pro-Jesus. WTH? What changed? I want my old self back!
     
  2. Quagmire

    Quagmire Imaginary talking monkey
    Staff Member Premium Member

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    I am not an athiest.
    I think you're in the same boat that a lot of us are in, Sunsplash.

    (Sorry, this is going to be long) At one point in my life I made the realization that happiness wasn't at all dependent on circumstances: that I could just choose to be happy and at peace anytime I wanted to (and remembered to), regardless of what was going on on my life (to a point).

    With a little effort I could even cross over the emotional threshold into actual bliss. Once I started practicing this I pretty quickly became aware that something inside myself was throwing up a wall---a barrier---that I couldn't cross, and that whenever I tried to cross it I would run smack dab into guilt, fear, anger, and some sort of inexplicable but almost overwhelming remorse.

    I also suspected that whatever it was that was throwing up this barrier was also responsible for the fact that I was usually unhappy and generally not very at ease in the world.

    OK, so one time I was sitting alone putting myself into the state of self-imposed bliss I was talking about and, as always, I hit the wall. This time, however, I decided to let whatever emotions came up just come and take a good look at where they were coming from.

    I was surprised as hell to discover that this thing that I kept running into was a deep seated fear of the "Devil", hell, damnation,...a bunch of nasty left-overs from my religious upbringing. I was surprised because I thought I had put all that behind me a long time ago, that what I had been taught in Sunday school (etc) didn't have any kind of power over me any more.

    I was wrong. :p I hadn't gotten over it, I hadn't talked, learned, or reasoned my way out of it, I had just pushed it down deep where I didn't have to look at it anymore. And it was still sitting there somewhere in my subconscious screwing with me.

    Once I realized all this I knew I would have to deal with it one way or another. So, I decided to learn all I could about the religion I had been raised in, and I made a kind of pact with myself that I would approach it all with as open a mind as possible (risking the possibility of having to accept it fully once I'd gotten an honest look at it all).

    Right away I started reading everything I could find about Christianity: it's history, theology, the writings of the apologists, commentary by experts from both sides of the fence, the Bible itself...

    It soon became clear to me that most of what I'd been taught as a kid, as well as what I'd heard from evangelists along the way, had no backing historically, logically, or even Biblically (more often than not).

    Whatever it had started out to be, the end product (at least some of the more popular versions, including the one that I'd been exposed to as a kid) was pretty obviously the result of generations of agenda driven propagandists using tradition and ritual to manipulate and control their superstitious contemporaries.

    In our day, it's still being used this way, just as it's still being used by adults as a tool to keep children in line. The fallout from all this, in my case, was at least a subconscious mind convinced that human beings were a dirty and inevitably damned disappointment to God who were obligated to go through life apologizing to Him for having been born (although, strangely, apparently once you died you immediately became a saint :shrug:).

    Now, after a few years of studying all this I can put it aside with my eyes open. I don't have to hate it, but I don't have to fear it anymore either.

    Anyway, that's my version of the "spiritual cleanse" that you're talking about, Sunsplash.


    As far as your friends and family and the way you're all interacting; to me it sounds exactly like what happens when an alcoholic or drug addict quits drinking or using: first there's "I felt so free when I left and what other people thought didn't matter to me because I knew it was right for me ", but before too long your friends start wondering why you won't go to the bar with them anymore. Then they start taking it personally. Then the games begin.

    You've walked away from something that was hurting you and left yourself open to the possibility of finding something better, and people are trying to pull you back in. It's understandable that you'd be angry.

    I think once you find out what Christianity is (and it isn't any one thing) you'll be able to answer that for yourself.
     
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  3. sunsplash

    sunsplash Freckled

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    This made me LOL because I think it's true! Though I don't know what exactly I haven't come to terms with yet that may be haunting me still. Unless it's something unreligious and my desire to be accepted and not pitied by the Christians in my life. I think that might always be there to some extent but am not sure if that's everything.

    I know I still hold a grudge about the fear that was used in my upbringing. That could be another part of my anger. Any time a random person posts on FB about their daily dose of Jesus, it takes me back to how I felt threatened by God as a kid - and it frustrates me that people still do that and other impressionable people (adult & child) are in danger of this. Is it my problem? No. So why do I care?

    This is an interesting analogy and true to a point. The only thing that shows how deep my problem really goes is my emotional reaction by those not directing their Christian blurbs at me. For example, a family friend has a daughter with serious medical issues and she sends out a general email/update every week or two. She's religious but many in her circle are not, and if something good happens she'll type "we got this news today...X = Y and not Z...thank you Jesus." She's not pushing her beliefs on anyone, she's merely expressing her relief in her personal, spiritual way - and yet it will cause a disrespectful eyeroll as I read it. I realize this isn't a big deal to some but it is very unlike me and I don't like it. And then there are of course the regular comments intended for me but those I can justify getting upset about, lol.

    I do need to do some more research. I've learned a lot more in recent times about its history and such but there is always room for more. It doesn't hurt to have added knowledge to use in my reasons for refutal.
     
  4. cynic2005

    cynic2005 Member

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    I think you answered your own initial questions within the same journal entry.
    There's nothing wrong with being angry. I don't think you should view yourself as needing spiritual cleansing. Your anger is just a natural reaction towards arrogance, inconsistency, etc.

    I think what might help is separating the anger provoking behaviors from the individual, and seeing the potential goodness in each individual... We all say things out of arrogance or ignorance at times. We all make mistakes.

    Also seeing others as part of your larger self.

    Also note that not all Christians are that way. I have been surprised by some who are very open minded, tolerant, and intelligent.

    Stop focusing on the negative and look at the positive things that Christians have done. If you selectively attend to the negative and ignore the positive, you can intensify these negative emotions. If one were to look at all the negative things that occur in the world, they would grow pessimistic, cynical, feel alone, isolated, and angry. You have to see the positive in the negative sometimes, or look for the positives in the general scheme of things. Once you do so your feelings will also be more positive.

    I used to feel much anger, but now I'm indifferent. Mainly because I have a comprehensive theory that seeks to explain what is going on psychologically. I find that trying to explain behavior allows you to look at things more objectively, and therefore lessen the intensity of such displeasing emotions.
     
    #4 cynic2005, Sep 4, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2010
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