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Switch to Forum Live View my story- can you relate?
10 years ago  ::  Feb 05, 2008 - 6:29PM #11
Posts: 289

I think if you approach your spiritual "problem" with the approach learned in your class, you would have no stress/worry over your spiritual identity. I suppose this could go two ways and splinter from there. There are no easy answers.

Let's say the problem is resolved by you suddenly falling back in line with the traditional Christian beliefs you were raised with. Your parents won't be disappointed and you won't have the guilt that's nagging at you. That's really no good for you, I think , and I believe you'd agree with me. It's akin to Jack Nicholson getting a lobotomy at the end of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest just so he doesn't act up for Nurse Ratched and company. It's ALWAYS best to follow one's own heart.

On the other hand, the problem could be resolved by you being comfortable in your new intuitive beliefs and knowing your family is supportive of you finding your faith as a human. Unfortunately, the only way to know this is to find yourself and calmly and rationally explain your beliefs to your parents...yes, they may not react well, but they will hopefully respect your decision and still love you. Admittedly, I haven't done the same with my family so I should practice what I preach here, but I've found that my parents are much more understanding than I had anticipated once I finally approach a tough subject.

Again, I wish you the best of luck and hope you find some peace with yourself. Know that there are others (like me) in the same boat. You're not alone by any stretch of the imagination.
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars ~ Oscar Wilde
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10 years ago  ::  Feb 05, 2008 - 6:33PM #12
Posts: 289
Your anxiety at this moment in time is completely of your own making. You are worrying about something your family is not even aware of. Trust me, it's so easy to imagine worst case scenarios and to be fatalistic with things. Your family may react negatively and cause you stress. However they might not.

To help yourself right now, take a deep breath and look at the positives of whatever you decide. Don't focus on the worst because odds are, the worst won't come.That's why they call it "the worst" and not "the usual". If you are comfortable with your thoughts and feelings, sit down and discuss it rationally. Respect your parents and show that you've thought it all out well and thoroughly and they'll appreciate your honesty and hopefully accept it.
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars ~ Oscar Wilde
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10 years ago  ::  Feb 07, 2008 - 1:08AM #13
Posts: 34
[QUOTE=saribeth95;266867]The thing that I don't know is, does my anxiety come from me, or does it come from my family's response?  And what about this whole situation can I change right now, myself?[/QUOTE]

No one is ever responsible for how we feel at any given time.  I would suggest that your anxiety may be coming from your apprehension to take that next step in your unfoldment... and your apprehension arises from guilt rather than loyalty.  Anxiety is always sure to follow the denial of a True inner urge.  But having never met you it would be rather presumptious to assume anything.

Nonetheless, the only "thing" we can ever change at any given time is how we *accept* the experiences we have in consciousness.  When we experience anxiety (or any emotion we no longer find usefull), we can rest in the knowledge that, "this need not be".  The fact is people will always respond in the ways they have conditioned themselves to believe.  Your responsibility here is to unfold YOUR truth, not those of your parents, friends or church.  The only thing that you can change right now, yourself, is your own mind.

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10 years ago  ::  Feb 13, 2008 - 9:31PM #14
Posts: 10
I must say that I can relate to your situation in many ways.

I was raised in a very conservative Christian home. My family all still claims to be christian, and my mother is especially "hard core" if you will. Growing up I never really fully accepted the beliefs - of course, I went along with it all and really tried to convince myself, but I never really could. I felt (and still do) that the Bible is misinterpretted, and is definitly written and interpretated from a male perspective, and the cultural glasses only get put on when people choose to so it fits their beliefs.

After finally moving across the country and getting away from my family I started taking a lot more time to look into how I really felt - although I had started this before the move through some college classes, I didn't give it too much thought. I've actually began doing a lot more research, and have started to adopt a much more Zen Buddhist style of thinking.

For me, I am still in the process. My outlook has changed, but after nearly 20 years in a christian enviroment (we were homeschooled, too, so it permeated everything in my life) I find it hard to completely abandon it. My husband, although pretty liberal (religiously speaking), still enjoys going to church, so I still go with him. He at least supports me despite my differing views, and we can have candid conversations about it. For the most part, he actually agrees with me, just isn't as willing to leave that community yet.

I have not told my mother or family - not outright anyways. I already know how my mom would react as I've seen her reactions with other people - and her oldest daughter going down some other path? Yup, don't even want to deal with it. I do, however, allow some of my ideas to infilitrate our conversations, and I have gotten pretty good at stating my viewpoint and still "sounding" christian. It's a deceptive way of dealing with it, but for me, the fights and arguements and having to defend myself for the rest of my life are not worth it, and this is an alternative that works for now.

It's not going to be easy. I get torn between what I know is right for myself, and what has been shoved down my throat my entire childhood (and then some). I have friends who are in the christian community and it would be hard to lose them - many would not be accepting of my revised outlook. Of course, they'd stay friendly, but their motives would be to "bring me back," not to be my friend. You want to know the sad part? I was the one who got my husband back into the church when we dating! He had walked away and had no interest in gracing another church, and I convinced him to give it a try again! Now, I'm wanting him to leave again - life sure is interesting to say the least!
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10 years ago  ::  Feb 19, 2008 - 12:44PM #15
Posts: 6
You are definitely expressing a lot of what I am going through, pjindy.  That is dead on when you talk about your friends that would probably try to "bring you back" rather than pursue real friendship.  I know that was my sentiment when I considered myself to be a strong evangelical Christian.  If I had a friend who was "astray" I would take them out for coffee or whatever in the hopes of sharing God's love and bringing them back, rather than seeking a give and take friendship.

I guess it stresses me out a little that you still haven't really been able to make peace with your family about religion.  Something in me kind of hoped that I would soon be able to do so, but it sounds like our families are very similar (in particular the moms) , not to say that every situation is the same, but I think that it may be one of those things that I won't be able to be totally get across to them.  But who knows.  Life, and people, often do whatever you don't expect.  I can definately relate as well to the idea of responding to stuff while still sounding Christian.  It makes sense, because whether we choose to practice/ believe it now or not, its still a huge part of our growing up and foundation.

Another thing I think is interesting is the idea of marriage/dating and how it influences religion.  As I mentioned in my first post, in some ways a lot of this searching really took flight when I started dating my boyfriend over a year ago.  He grew up in the church as well (but elca, not evangelical, so huge difference) but is agnostic.  He has challegned me so much in my beliefs and ideas.  Its so funny because I was drilled for years to date/marry men who loved Jesus more than me, putting God at the center of my relationship, etc.  So unfortunately, the breadth of our relationship is also something I can't be fully honest with my parents about because I don't think its what they want for me.  But I don't regret it.  He's helped, and helping me understand myself so much better and what I actually believe.  It is really funny how you were the one who got your husband back to church and now you are wanting him to leave.   Spirituality and religion in relationships is an interesting thing to discuss and ponder.  Do our relationships impact our religion, or vice versa?  Or both? 

Anyway, thanks for sharing your experience:)
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10 years ago  ::  Mar 25, 2008 - 7:02PM #16
Posts: 276
Hi all
Having read all your posts, I can certainly empathise with you all.
I had an evangelical background myself, but hand on heart, I can't say that they caused me any problems and my leaving the church was on their advice. Any guilt feelings I had were self induced.
We all have an individual spiritual path to follow and the need is that families and friends should honour that. But I'm afraid that often they don't. Try being non-judgemental towards them and see how they react. Try being more loving towards them and this will dispel the fear.

One question is, does spirituality need to be religious and what do you consider to be religious?
There is nothing wrong with the need for spirituality combined with not having a need for religion. It's the spirituality that's important. However, religion is important to some and so we should be tolerant and allow them to be this way as free will is the rule for us and them also.

I have found that Jesus is still there without the trappings of religion and he will be for you if you allow Him to do so.

I hope that this has been of some help.
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10 years ago  ::  Apr 11, 2008 - 2:14PM #17
Posts: 916
[QUOTE=saribeth95;215924]Hi- just wanted to share my story to see if anyone could relate/had any advice.

I am probably your stereotypical postmodern college student, but I guess that doesn't make my journey any less valuable.

I was raised in a very strong Christian home- my siblings and I all "asked Jesus into our hearts" at age 5, went to Sunday School every week, and even protested at Planned Parenthood.  I grew up with a very supportive, loving, conservative church family.

In junior high, I started to question the conservative politics that are ingrained in the evangelical church and went through a long period of questioning.  By high school, I was able to resolve this to combine conservative religious beliefs with liberal political practices.  I remained a leader at church and had a heart for not only evangelizing but also just making the world better.

My first semester of college (a fairly liberal Lutheran school) I remained strong in my faith, but after my grandpa (who was not "saved") died, I really began to question a system in which a good guy like my grandpa would spend eternity in hell simply for his beliefs.

Looking at it from a conservative viewpoint, I guess you could say my fall out of the church has continued since then as I spent a month at a very liberal mission center in urban California, started dating an agnostic, shared in conversation with friends going through similar experiences, and recently spent 5 months in Argentina, where I realized that  families be loving and functional as agnostic/atheist.

I have found some peace within the emergent church,  but everytime I go back to my old home church I feel manipulated into believing something to avoid hell.

Right now I feel more confused than ever- stuck between an opening mind to new religious experiences and ideas, and a very deep rooted fear of hell and of disappointing my parents, who want more than anything for me to have a strong relationship with Jesus, and, well, go to heaven.

I was hoping that someone would have a similar experience or some kind of advice.


There is no hell and no devil and no satan, the satan being just a symbol for our personal Ego.

You are doing yourself a disservice whenever you return to your home church.   They are very against you learning to think for yourself, or even to question them.

See Matt. 12:31  All sins will be forgiven..........   so, given that all sins will be forgiven, who then would go to hell?  There is no place in the bible that discusses the creation of hell.  The idea came from Germanic tribal mythology.
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10 years ago  ::  Apr 25, 2008 - 12:39AM #18
Posts: 8
Hi saribeth and anybody else reading these posts!

I won't bore you with my story as it has more or less already been covered by the previous posts.  As Bob above more or less stated, you now have the ability to think for yourself.  When we are strictly raised in the religion of our parents, we just accept it all as gospel. (No pun intended!)  I married out of the Catholic church so was more or less excommunicated.  That suited me fine as I had never found anything at all in Roman Catholicism.  I briefly dabbled with pentecostalism but always felt most out of place in it.  For years I didn't bother with religion at all, then realized I was probably denying myself spiritually and was attracted to Buddhism.  To cut a long story short, when I wasn't looking to find God at all, he arrived dramatically , very recently with a call to Islam.  It's not as if I had researched it at all.  I was simply reading sites about it out of interest to appease a Muslim friend.  It sounds corny to say I was overcome with emotion, something I couldn't really understand, but I read it as a Call and have finally found what I'd failed to find within any other religion.  I don't think you should worry about what anybody else thinks of your decisions.  You are not answerable to anyone else, your family incuded.  When you are not worrying about what everyone else thinks you should do, you are free to make up your own mind.  Take your time and smell the flowers!  :)  I never thought I would find myself where I am today spiritually and I like what I feel.

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