Religious trauma (kinda?)

Postby Maicrop » Sun Aug 30, 2020 9:56 am

I don't know why I'm writing this but I just need to vent. I'm a 17 yo girl who was about to die internally a couple of months ago. So it goes as follows: I was born into a very religious family (I am an Ortodox Christian) and happen to be gay. I didn't really care about it until 6 months ago or something when I started to fear hell. With the pandemic I had to stay home and I haven't attended school since mid March. I had a lot of time to think about it and my fear quickly turned into my greatest nightmare. Whatever I did I couldn't stop reading about the sin of homosexuality in Christianity. Almost everyone condemned me to eternal fire. This religion tends to feel like a continuous struggle with fasting, prayer, sin and repentance. I read so much that at some point no hour would pass that I didn't think about the eternal punishment. Horrendous images of the hell would go through my mind and I started to ideate death. No rest, no peace for me almost all day and even night. I would cry my heart out almost every day and experience severe hatred despair wrath depression and terror and I would sob so much that my chest would literally hurt from pressure. Please believe me that I am not embellishing anything in my story. Of course I wanted to die in the near future. I would go to sleep crying and I would wake up tired and anguished. Someday I decided to see the priest at my church to repent. He told me that all practicing homosexuals are going to hell and that I HAVE TO marry a man and have children which I cannot explain how much damaged my psyche. I was literally trembling from anger. Finally, with someone's bit of help I managed to understand that I'm not going to hell only for that and good people are not going there, which was one of the biggest reliefs of my life. I have never been so badly psychologically affected. Now even hearing the word "church" makes my palms sweat and I can't stand Christianity anymore. I can't stand the church the priests anything! Hearing about the church makes my heart race and fear surrounds me, seeing a church or a priest only reminds me of those times and I almost get a panic attack. I am not fully recovered because sometimes I start to cry uncontrollably when thinking about whatt I went through a couple of months ago (around May).
I know that maybe this story is pointless but I would like to receive a piece of advice. Do you think I should see a counselor?
*Sorry about my English grammar, I'm not a native*
Thanks in advance.
Maicrop
New Member
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Aug 30, 2020 9:55 am
Likes Received: 0


#1

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Sun Aug 30, 2020 12:07 pm

Maicrop wrote: Do you think I should see a counselor?


No.

At 17 years old it is time to explore what YOU believe. After all, it is what you have chosen to believe that is creating all of your pain. It is your beliefs. It is not what anyone else believes that is causing you pain.

Now I say it is what you have "chosen" to believe, but that is not exactly accurate or fair. At age 17 you have been raised to believe. You have had a community of people including family, teachers, friends, government, and religion all providing you guidance on what you should believe. They have been telling you what beliefs are good and what beliefs are bad. They have told you what the consequences are for failing to believe.

Do you believe everything you are told? No.

I understand if you are young child. Young children do not know what to believe. Young children believe in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy. But, eventually the child gets older and begins to question those beliefs. That is normal. It is normal for us to become skeptical of what adults have told us we need to believe. It is healthy.

You are now 17. It is healthy to question your beliefs. It is okay to question what you believe.

The anger you have is understandable, but misplaced. Do not be angry at the community. Do not be angry at your parents or priests, or the church. They are sharing what they believe. It doesn't make them right.

You are giving them power.

The reason I don't think you should see a counselor is because that will once again be asking another person to tell you what you should believe. At age 17 it is a good age to stop that. Stop believing what others tell you. Investigate for yourself. Question everything. Be skeptical. Make up your own mind.
Richard@DecisionSkills
MVP
MVP
 
Posts: 10940
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 2:25 am
Likes Received: 1136

#2

Postby Maicrop » Sun Aug 30, 2020 12:26 pm

Thank you for your advice. You are right. Thing is that I am not that kind of person to believe anything I'm told but I've been so strongly imbued with this belief that it is hard to question this religion at first.
Maicrop
New Member
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Aug 30, 2020 9:55 am
Likes Received: 0

#3

Postby davidbanner99@ » Sun Aug 30, 2020 5:04 pm

Maicrop wrote:I don't know why I'm writing this but I just need to vent. I'm a 17 yo girl who was about to die internally a couple of months ago. So it goes as follows: I was born into a very religious family (I am an Ortodox Christian) and happen to be gay. I didn't really care about it until 6 months ago or something when I started to fear hell. With the pandemic I had to stay home and I haven't attended school since mid March. I had a lot of time to think about it and my fear quickly turned into my greatest nightmare. Whatever I did I couldn't stop reading about the sin of homosexuality in Christianity. Almost everyone condemned me to eternal fire. This religion tends to feel like a continuous struggle with fasting, prayer, sin and repentance. I read so much that at some point no hour would pass that I didn't think about the eternal punishment. Horrendous images of the hell would go through my mind and I started to ideate death. No rest, no peace for me almost all day and even night. I would cry my heart out almost every day and experience severe hatred despair wrath depression and terror and I would sob so much that my chest would literally hurt from pressure. Please believe me that I am not embellishing anything in my story. Of course I wanted to die in the near future. I would go to sleep crying and I would wake up tired and anguished. Someday I decided to see the priest at my church to repent. He told me that all practicing homosexuals are going to hell and that I HAVE TO marry a man and have children which I cannot explain how much damaged my psyche. I was literally trembling from anger. Finally, with someone's bit of help I managed to understand that I'm not going to hell only for that and good people are not going there, which was one of the biggest reliefs of my life. I have never been so badly psychologically affected. Now even hearing the word "church" makes my palms sweat and I can't stand Christianity anymore. I can't stand the church the priests anything! Hearing about the church makes my heart race and fear surrounds me, seeing a church or a priest only reminds me of those times and I almost get a panic attack. I am not fully recovered because sometimes I start to cry uncontrollably when thinking about whatt I went through a couple of months ago (around May).
I know that maybe this story is pointless but I would like to receive a piece of advice. Do you think I should see a counselor?
*Sorry about my English grammar, I'm not a native*
Thanks in advance.

Bisexuality was very normal in the ancient world. The first 4 or so Roman emperors were orientated both ways, except Claudius. So Jesus never mentioned the subject as culturally it was pretty normal. Sure, the Romans viewed the Greeks as a bit effeminate but all in all sexual orientation didn't matter. I remain clueless too as to why people these days should have to be boxed into labels. I don't think the Romans had a term for being gay as there was no need to identify. Please don't worry over this and learn to accept yourself.
davidbanner99@
Junior Member
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2020 7:00 pm
Likes Received: 0

#4

Postby Candid » Sun Aug 30, 2020 5:25 pm

Maicrop wrote:I decided to see the priest at my church to repent. He told me that all practicing homosexuals are going to hell and that I HAVE TO marry a man and have children which I cannot explain how much damaged my psyche.

Oh sweetheart, there is certainly great evil in our world, but from my perspective almost all of it of it comes from people like this priest shoving their obscene hatred and bigotry down other people's throats.

I've been so strongly imbued with this belief that it is hard to question this religion at first.

Of course it is! Blimey, I myself got scared when I began to understand about mythologies, religion, fairytales and ignorant racist sexist misogynist homophobic men creating a thoroughly self-serving ideology such a very long time ago—and I didn't get religion at home, only in primary school. I too thought I might be forever condemned to being whipped with scorpions or burned forever or whatever crap might await anyone who doesn't regularly kiss the giant backside of this thoroughly despicable 'all-loving' imaginary 'god'.

Here's something to consider:
More than any other species we survive by the accumulated experience of previous generations, and that experience needs to be passed on to children for their protection and wellbeing. Theoretically children might learn from personal experience not to go too near a cliff edge, not to eat untried red berries, not to swim in crocodile-infested waters, but, to say the least, there will be a selective advantage to child brains that possess the rule of thumb: believe, without question, whatever your grown-ups tell you.

That's from Richard Dawkins's book The God Delusion, the one book I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone suffering as you are. I needed to read it myself, and I wasn't getting religion rammed down my throat from every direction the way you were. This Good Book came out in 2006 and was an immediate bestseller for good reason, so you might find a hard copy at a library, a secondhand one somewhere, or who knows, maybe an online pdf by now. It's worth reading a few times until it really sinks in.

When I think of how the god stuff worried me I understand it's going to keep coming back to you, because you can't cut off your entire social world and it's unwise to argue with Believers. Even Richard Dawkins ultimately declined debates with religious leaders, saying they would just keep banging on about gaps in the fossil record and how God's favourite thing is to keep himself hidden and move in mysterious ways so we poor worms must either have faith or go to hell. Really.

You aren't going to hell, Maicrop, because there isn't one. You certainly don't have to marry a man and have children (I am furious he said that to you!) or do anything other than be who you are. Sooner rather than later I hope you'll find a gay support system and have a wonder-filled life.
Candid
MVP
MVP
 
Posts: 8958
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:00 am
Likes Received: 425

#5

Postby Candid » Sun Aug 30, 2020 5:42 pm

davidbanner99@ wrote:I remain clueless too as to why people these days should have to be boxed into labels.


I agree, David. No one on the forum would turn to an old-timer like me for advice on their technology, so why the hell** would anyone consult boring, repetitive, inconsistent and just plain nasty ancient texts for advice on how to live their lives?

I'm being ingenuous here because I do know why. There are still far too many people in the world who've had the Fear of God put into them, and that means they're obliged to label their children Christian, Jewish, Hindu or whatever. And so the rot goes on.

There's nothing quite like taking personal responsibility for your choices, and taking steps to resolve your own troubles instead of begging an imaginary friend for help.

** word chosen deliberately
Candid
MVP
MVP
 
Posts: 8958
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:00 am
Likes Received: 425

#6

Postby davidbanner99@ » Sun Aug 30, 2020 6:19 pm

Candid wrote:
davidbanner99@ wrote:I remain clueless too as to why people these days should have to be boxed into labels.


I agree, David. No one on the forum would turn to an old-timer like me for advice on their technology, so why the hell** would anyone consult boring, repetitive, inconsistent and just plain nasty ancient texts for advice on how to live their lives?

I'm being ingenuous here because I do know why. There are still far too many people in the world who've had the Fear of God put into them, and that means they're obliged to label their children Christian, Jewish, Hindu or whatever. And so the rot goes on.

There's nothing quite like taking personal responsibility for your choices, and taking steps to resolve your own troubles instead of begging an imaginary friend for help.

** word chosen deliberately


Years ago I was on a wonderful site called Ancient Classical History. Nice forum. Nice people and interesting. Anyway, ancient Athens was a culturally bisexual society and kind of interesting for us to discuss on that forum. It was a conservative society so family life was central. However, homosexuality was very normal to Greeks. There was a physical culture cult where the male physique was idealised. Actual discrimination came much later around maybe 500 AD when suddenly homosexuality was suddenly targeted by churches. As well as various other religions.
davidbanner99@
Junior Member
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2020 7:00 pm
Likes Received: 0

#7

Postby GalmOne » Sun Aug 30, 2020 6:37 pm

Not to mention that the Bible condemns male homosexuality, but doesn't mention female homosexuality.
So, you either choose not to believe in Christianity anymore and stop bothering with the thought of going to hell, or you choose to remain a believer, and then, nothing bad will happen to you as there isn't one place in the Bible that condemns being a lesbian.
GalmOne
Junior Member
 
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Nov 29, 2019 6:38 pm
Likes Received: 1

#8

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Sun Aug 30, 2020 7:02 pm

Candid wrote:....would anyone consult boring, repetitive, inconsistent and just plain nasty ancient texts for advice on how to live their lives?...


I don't see it this way.

You are a writer Candid. Do you intentionally write to be boring, repetitive, inconsistent, and plain nasty? Or do you write to do your best to communicate ideas that you believe have value to others?

Ancient texts are by definition...well...ancient. If we take them in the context and purpose for which they were written the writers were performing a valuable service. This was new technology. Some of it was chronicling, preserving a written record. Other writings were communicating shared values, "The Code of Hammurabi" for instance. "The Epic of Gilgamesh" imparts certain ideal values. Being able to pass this along in written form versus oration allowed for more and better cooperation between tribes.

The Code of Hammurabi is certainly boring and repetitive. Like any legal code there are inconsistencies. Some of the code most likely viewed in modern times is "nasty" e.g. stoning. But this is not very different than today. Writers of today develop manifestos and promote ideologies of how life should be lived.

Another example is a widely respected text that includes rules for how to treat and or manage slaves. In modern times do we simply dismiss and decry this text because slavery is nasty, immoral, unethical? Or do we understand that during the time the text was written slavery was the ethical option? There were no mass internment camps to keep enemies prisoner for life. If a neighboring tribe was vanquished for whatever reason, what do you do with the women and children, what do you do with the survivors? The choice was genocide or slavery. Which is more ethical?

But today we too often look back at these texts with disdain. Instead, in my opinion, we should appreciate these texts for the tough environment these people faced. We live in fortunate times with much less violence, pestilence and plague than our ancestors. Why? Is it just luck? In my opinion it is because of our ancestors and the ability of these texts to help communicate systems of belief, not inspite of them.

People use these texts, both ancient and modern, for good and for bad. It's not the text that is the problem.

I guess my main point is that the texts are not the issue per se. The texts have been used for thousands of years to build communities of shared values and cooperation. Unfortunately, the exact same texts have also been used to destroy rather than build. That's the fault of the text or the fault of the people using the text?
Richard@DecisionSkills
MVP
MVP
 
Posts: 10940
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 2:25 am
Likes Received: 1136

#9

Postby davidbanner99@ » Sun Aug 30, 2020 10:35 pm

Being careful not to go off track but I'm fascinated by Christien and Barbara O Brien's research into Sumeria and the book Genius Of The Few. Very interesting material. "Elohim" translated as "God (singular) is grammatically plural. Sumerian "El" means "one who shines" and from this we get "elf". In Cornish "El" has the same meaning. "Elohim" would often be used as a plural to mean "gods". According to O Brien that then fits with "let us make man in our image".
From my experience, the big mistake so often made is to apply modern cultural norms to ancient language and society. Being orientated to same sex relations in Greece and Rome was totally normal. I found no word in Latin for "gay" because it wasn't an issue. I don't think people should be classified into groupings. Orientation is a human, normal characteristic and all very normal.
davidbanner99@
Junior Member
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2020 7:00 pm
Likes Received: 0

#10

Postby Candid » Mon Aug 31, 2020 8:16 am

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:Ancient texts are by definition...well...ancient.

Exactly. And the books of the Bible were copied and recopied and translated and retranslated many times.
If we take them in the context and purpose for which they were written the writers were performing a valuable service. This was new technology. Some of it was chronicling, preserving a written record.

Yes, although people of long ago interpreted things to fit their understanding, IMO trying to figure out how we got here, a praiseworthy endeavour.
Other writings were communicating shared values,

This is where I take issue. The values of 100 years ago are now shocking, let alone 5000 years ago.
Being able to pass this along in written form versus oration allowed for more and better cooperation between tribes.

Arguably, but the invented god also gave orders to kill and/or enslave anyone who believed in different invented gods. We have wars because nothing has changed.
Some of the code most likely viewed in modern times is "nasty" e.g. stoning. But this is not very different than today.

Alas no. It's my understanding that method is still in use in some parts of the world, and there are more civilised countries where the death penalty is still used.
Writers of today develop manifestos and promote ideologies of how life should be lived.

I see it more as a case of collective working towards equality. Make it illegal to discriminate on the grounds of race, gender or disability, and attitudes change.
In modern times do we simply dismiss and decry this text because slavery is nasty, immoral, unethical?

I have no wish to rewrite history, or to destroy historical record. I'm not a Bible burner; I've had my own copy for more than 50 years and occasionally use it as reference. What I don't do is look up 'what god says' to know how to live my life.
That's the fault of the text or the fault of the people using the text?

Definitely the latter. The priest using ancient and outmoded injunctions to torment our OP no doubt has his own problems and 'sins'. I don't think he was practising Christian kindness when he said what he said.

The science of how we got here has been available since 1859, making a mockery of the Garden of Eden and obviating the need for a creator god whose values were those of misogynist men. As you're aware, I'm an admirer of Richard Dawkins and his crusade to end the labelling of children with the horrible, hurtful superstitions of their parents. None of this stopped me carolling All Things Bright and Beautiful alongside mourners at a funeral last year.
Candid
MVP
MVP
 
Posts: 8958
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:00 am
Likes Received: 425

#11

Postby GalmOne » Mon Aug 31, 2020 3:58 pm

Yes, that's definitely the latter. Just look at the first of the Ten Commandments: Thou shalt not kill.
How many wars were started for the sake of Christianism (or Judaism and Islam, which share the Ten Commandments)?
GalmOne
Junior Member
 
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Nov 29, 2019 6:38 pm
Likes Received: 1

#12

Postby davidbanner99@ » Mon Aug 31, 2020 7:51 pm

Personally I doubt Jesus had issues over bisexuality. It is hard to find any direct quote by Jesus that judges sexuality. Recently too, someone compared Dan Brown to Christien O Brien. Both looked more closely at the Bible with an open mind. O Brien did his own translation of the first part of Genesis and also compared to Sumerian creation accounts. Some passages are put side by side so you can note similarities. It's clear too a translator of ancient texts has a very tough job over interpretation. Indeed, even in more modern language I've seen the adjective "gay" used in the sixties as "bright" or "happy". Context in translation I think is crucial for ancient language translation. Also, the fact we assume the ancients were bothered over sexual orientation when they were not. And personally, I feel bisexuality is so common in all populations why do we need to be given labels? It's a private matter of each individual I think.
davidbanner99@
Junior Member
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2020 7:00 pm
Likes Received: 0

#13

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Sun Sep 06, 2020 5:00 pm

[quote="Candid"]
This is where I take issue. The values of 100 years ago are now shocking, let alone 5000 years ago.
[quote]

And the values of today would be "shocking" to those in the past and will certainly be to those in the future.

In my opinion we are no better or worse than our ancestors. And certain values seem to transcend time and space. How those values are passed along comes in different forms, but the underlying message is the same.
Richard@DecisionSkills
MVP
MVP
 
Posts: 10940
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 2:25 am
Likes Received: 1136



Return to Psychology