Christian Fundamentalism Can Devastate a Family!

sent in by RUTH STONE

When I became a Christian, it was because I wanted to do something 'right' for myself and my children. I wanted to have the rules all spelled out for me. And peer pressure (most of my friends were already churchies). But I also remember reading the Book of John and being inspired by Jesus. He said things that made sense to me...things that I could agree with. So I started going to a church where it all changed.

Yes, at first it was all about Jesus...his love and his forgiveness. Who doesn't want a clean slate? But, with each Sunday sermon, the Jesus that lured me into the church became less and less visible. Suddenly it was the harsh, jealous, smiting God who loomed large. But, by then, I was already deep into it, and felt like I couldn't back out. I had built an entire social circle of friends who would not let me walk away. A few years go by, children were born, and I was becoming more and more beligerent and hateful. Suddenly, conspiracies were everywhere: the music i once listened to had Satanic back-masking, so we threw those away. The toys my kids played with were also demonic or new age, so we discarded those. Of course, the public schools were indoctrinating our children with Humanism, so we pulled them out and started homeschooling. I cut myself off from my unsaved family and friends.

I remember one afternoon with the other Christian moms: they were telling me how God had laid it upon their hearts to tell me that I wasn't doing God's will because I didn't believe in physically hitting my children. They told me how the bible said I HAD to spank them. One woman said her pastor had preached about it and had told the congregation that an unruly child should be hit repeatedly until you hear them make a cry of submission. That at first, a child will cry simply because they got caught, but after hitting for a while, the child's spirit would submit.

Unfortunately, my husband and I, like sheep to slaughter, went along with it all and began hitting the kids for everything and anything.

Anyway, over the next several years, I began to THINK for myself and realized that my unhappiness and depression was directly related to the crazy doctrines of the church. I started to question everything and came to the conclusion that IF god existed, and that IF god were truly a loving parent, then he would not have put me in a world of temptation. He would not have made gay people. He would not have mandated genocides (all those O.T. stories). More than that, I began to think that perhaps God was bigger than any one single religion. After all, if GOD really did have a holy book, wouldn't it come attached to our umbilical cords or something like that?! I mean, it would be OBVIOUS to all people at all time that it really was God's Book.

It's sad for me to realize that this part of my journey took up so many years of my life. I regret the way it changed me.
I regret being the hostile, unloving parent during those years, as cold, distant, and abusive as the God of the O.T.

It's funny: born-agains are always talking about having a "personal relationship with god." Yet, if memory serves, I was was always being told what to do/think by other christians...never really allowing me to have that personal relationship.

In conclusion, I hope this testimony helps someone...even just one person...walk away from the insanity that is Christian Fundamentalism. As I told my former church friends as i was leaving, "I have prayed about it and am convinced this is what "God" wants me to do." And I wasn't lying; I knew in my heart (as they say) that if there really was a God, that God would completely approve of my decision to leave.

Incidently, I have never been happier, healthier nor more like myself and have never once regretted leaving Fundamentalism behind.

State: Illinois
Country: USA
Became a Christian: I was in my early 20s
Ceased being a Christian: I was almost thirty when I walked away.
Labels before: Assembly of God; Foursquare Gospel.
Labels now: Gnostic Pantheist
Why I joined: I became a Christian because I wanted to do something "right."
Why I left: I left because it nearly destroyed my life, my family, and my mind.
Email Address: myrrhspace at yahoo dot com


Anonymous said...

It seems like every site I surf tonight (most of which were NOT of ANY religious nature) are sending me a message. I was surfing on a forum about the military and ended up on a site about Christianity; I was surfing on a site about meeting new people (NOT a dating site of any sort), saw a post that simply said "trading spouses" (no pun intended - re: the meeting new people site) and linked because I kinda like the show and haven't seen it for a while...after all was said and done...HERE I am reading testimony after testimony written by ex christians. Interestingly, the ones I seem to be choosing all have their roots in Born Again affiliations. Why is this interesting???

This afternoon my Born Again Christian sitter of 6 years (we have oposing views and have agreed to disagree - she still "allows" my kids because its an income no doubt) took the oportunity to share her childrearing techniques with me. I was surprised to discover that she agreed with the use of physical discipline (corporal punishment) and hence suggested it to me. THEN she indicated that corporal punishment is Gods Will....but THEN....she shared that hands were just for loving and that the only "right" way to use this is with an object - not your hand. WHAT????How could I NOT KNOW this about her for 6 years!!!!??!! But anyway....since then I have been struggling (on 2 separate levels) with 2 issues. Mostly it was what to do about child care in the interim because there is no freaking way my kids are going back THERE!!!! But the other issue was that up until this afternoon I had been feeling a pull to explore this religion a little further. I know this is not the right forum to really share MY belief system - as it likely falls within the realm of fundamentalism as well - but I had been struggling with should I return to my church (LDS) or try out hers. Well, I still have not decided to actively return to my church, BUT it DOES appear that I am getting clear signals about where NOT to go!!!

As much as my post did not turn out even remotely connected to any of the original posts, I have to say thank you to all who bravely share your stories about your experiences. It is unfortunate that some of you and your families had to endure what you did in the mean time but at least you got out when you did.

Also, your stories have saved my children from any further exposure to at least one form of fundamentalism. Possibly even 2.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir/Madam

I am deeply concerned with how Christian Fundamentalist homeschoolers and other homeschoolers are hiding their children from the authorities. We are seriously concerned these children are open to abuse, without any protection. These parents openly and publicly flout the law by not registering. Some of these children are not accessed by any outside authority for the 12 years they would normally be at school. I have brought this situation to the attention of the Government, in particular The Hon Julie Bishop MP, Minister of Education, with little effect. It is illegal not to register your child in Australia. The Federal Government hold no statistics on homeschooled children. I am a homeschooling parent myself and have been horrified by the culture of intimidation and bullying when you dare to question the ethics of some parents.

Each state has different laws and we are actively lobbying the Government to fedralise homeschooling.

As you will see on the links I have provided, we have logged posts and comments by parents from a homeschooling forum. These are a few examples and we have provided all links to the relevant sites. Please see our links for other comments from this national homeschooling forum.

“God has thus far been able to show me how to raise our children, & how to educate them, we do not need the added finger of big brother in our lives. I see the government as a direct missile into pulling down the family unit.I think it is corrupt and ungodly, why would i invite them in”

“If you want to registar go do it..for those of us that don’t– why does anyone else really care what i(or anyone else that chooses not to registar) do?.. if i get it wrong ,God will sort me out.”

This situation is coming to a head with the death of a 7 year old Autistic girl who died from starvation and dehydration in NSW. The girl’s death will sharpen the focus on DOCS, which is under pressure following claims it failed to intervene in the case of Dean Shillingsworth, a two-year-old whose body was found last month stuffed in a suitcase that had been dumped in a duck pond in Ambarvale, in Sydney’s southwest.


Kate Gibbons
Australian Homeschool Legal Advisory Service

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