ARCHIVES:

Posts in this section were archived prior to February 2010. For more recent posts, go to the HOME PAGE.

11/9/09                                                                                       View Comments

Christians exploited my mental illness to indoctrinate me

Sent in by Kylee

My conversion into Christianity was not based on a rational decision, I am diagnosed with schizo-affective disorder which is a mental illness combining schizophrenia type symptoms with bipolar mood disorder.

At the time of my conversion I was not diagnosed and unaware I had a mental illness; I was psychotic and suffering delusions.

These delusions consisted of a belief that I was communicating with god. I did not embrace Christianity but had my own interpretation of gods nature. My best friend at the time was a Christian and she persuaded me to go to church where they persuaded me to read the bible. I was clinically insane and it is in my opinion a state where people should be protected from evangelists and religious indoctrination. However my episode continued for almost a year before I was diagnosed. The prolonged state of insanity has resulted in damage to my lifelong prognosis.

The only people I confided in about my delusions (which I believed to be true) where my best friend and her pastor. I told my best friend about the divine messages I was receiving and she encouraged these delusions. Once I told her that god had commanded me to leave my family and become a nun she encouraged this delusion suggesting places I should go. When I questioned why god would ask me to do this she told me it had to do with faith. When I spoke to her pastor I told him my strange 'prophetic' dreams and revelations. These had a strong implication that I thought I was Jesus Christ. I also told him that god had told me I have cancer and would die in three years. The reason I point this out is so you can see the obvious nature of my illness and understand why I am angry that the Christians I confided in did not act accordingly.

I requested to be baptized though stipulated that god wanted me to be baptized naked. This pastor did not refer me to medical attention, but instead, knowing full well I was mentally ill, which I am certain he did, accommodated my request for naked baptism.

These christians are culpable for my dismal prognosis as they not only failed to direct me to medical attention; they exploited my illness and indoctrinated me.

I remained a Christian after I had been treated because I had been indoctrinated while I was sick. I learned in church about gods judgment against the non believing and their destination of hell. a couple of years went by and then I got psychotic again. (I mention my delusions in detail because I want you to see how my indoctrination interacted with my illness creating a far worse scenario then just experiencing illness)

I was hospitalized but believed I had died and gone to hell. The fear was excruciating, and I never would have had such a fearful delusion if religious propaganda had not been pushed upon me.

I waited in 'hell' for three days each moment I was convinced that the eternal torture was imminent and unavoidable. This is by far the worst thing that has ever happened to me and for years I suffered nightmares of being in hell.

One day I was listening to my local Christian radio station and the spokesperson was teaching on a passage from the bible about hitting your children with rods. He instructed listeners to hit their children when they were disobedient but not to use your hand as then the child would associate the pain with the parent he said to use an implement.

At this stage, due to my mental illness, I had lost complete confidence in my ability to make rational decisions and trusted in Christian guidance over my own judgment so I began hitting my children with a wooden spoon.

Since my initial episode I had not been in a relationship and was very lonely and not coping well living alone with a mental illness. All my Christian friends told me I had to be in a relationship with a fellow Christian and remain sexually pure until married, needless to say these requirements limited my chances of having a boyfriend greatly. Like I said I was not coping I was severely depressed for four years so much that I had to hand custody of my children over to their father. I was even driven to suicide attempt.

I did eventually meet someone I liked very much but he was an atheist. I decided to be disobedient to the bible and begin dating this man. I went to church one evening and the pastor prayed over me. I had not told him about my relationship but he said to me that god was telling him I am in a wrong relationship and need to change it.

At the time I concluded that this must be a divine message as I had not told him about it. I have since realized he must have heard it from a member of the congregation and then used that opportunity to force me to do what he himself thought was right. Believing this was a divine message I broke up with my boyfriend and shortly after became suicidal. I spoke to the pastor in question about this and he said I should break up with my boyfriend but to do it slowly.

At another point in my Christian experience I was raped, not by a fellow Christian though the reason I share this is that my indoctrination commanded me to forgive all who apologise as the bible says.

This man did apologise though told me that I should apologise also to him for my part in this. (WTF!?! "I'm sorry I allowed you to victimise me.") As a Christian I was compelled to forgive him and this was a very degrading experience there was absolutely nothing good or right about it.

My deconversion took a while but I really made progress once I spoke to my counselor about wanting to be in a relationship with my former boyfriend but being taught it was a sin. My counselor was a Christian but not fundamentalist and she told me her view that the bible was written by man and suggested that I caused no harm to anyone by having a loving relationship. In fact, quite the opposite was true and it was of mutual benefit to me and my former boyfriend.

I began to see the harm I was doing by breaking up with my boyfriend which was indeed more damaging then having a relationship. This lead me to decide maybe the bible wasn't completely inspired though I remained a Christian for a time while I critically evaluated the bible, now I had given myself permission to.

It did not take too long to dismiss the bible with encouragement from my boyfriend who was a source of information regarding the questionable history of the bible and I also allowed myself to accept contradictions and downright malicious judgments of god for what they truly were instead of trying to reason them away.

With the bible given as much merit as it deserved by me the logical process that lead to me becoming atheist went something like this...

It was evident that those individuals who sincerely desired to know and follow god were not rewarded with a clear, consistent, universal truth.

Therefore the assumption that god exists seems unlikely, especially if this god requires us to believe in him and follow his teachings. Also if there were a god who did not care what we believed yet was compassionate he would undoubtedly reveal himself to end confusion, wars, condemnation, and fear of eternal damnation.

This compels me personally to disregard any notion of god