Post-Christianity me

Sent in by Sharon

Christianity cut me off from the world. It still cuts me off from the world. Though I have escaped Christianity's control, it is not so easy to escape Christianity's influence. It’s so hard to write about the ways in which it affected me and affects me still. I talk and write in a kind of code, because of the influence of Christianity. My past is so riddled with trauma caused by Christianity that to feel safe telling my story, I have to speak and write in a kind of code devoid of feeling and missing great amounts of detail and description.

Religion might have been okay in my life if I hadn’t been inundated with it to the point that life became unbearable. I’m thankful for dialectical behavior therapy, one of the most important tools in my deconversion process. Dialectical behavior therapy has helped me to dispense with judgment and has added balance to my life.

Christianity taught me that dressing nice and looking pretty was vain. Now that I’ve escaped Christianity’s control, I dress with flair. Now I dress for self-expression and to rebuild my self-esteem and self confidence--thumbing my nose at the conventions under which I previously lived. The post Christianity me likes wearing mini skirts, short shorts, and brightly colored tops. The post Christianity me collects fashion sunglasses, costume jewelry, and novelty scarves. The post Christianity me collects thrift store coats and jackets and cute sweaters to mix and match with different outfits, dispensing with my previously held guilt for failing to “share one of my two coats with him who has none.”

18 comments:

Carl K. said...

I'm not sure you'll find many answers or much meaning in dressing nice, either, to tell the truth.

Anonymous said...

"life became unbearable"

That is what I have been going through.

Anonymous said...

Good for you Sharon. It is good to hear you are trying to build your self-esteem as well. Its good to hear that you are no longer killing your personality by trying to be "Christ-like." It is a great thing to feel good about yourself. When I was a Christian I believed that teaching people to have self-esteem could actually be a sin. I can remember thinking to myself, "We don't need to esteem ourselves as something great, we need to esteem Christ!" I often felt guilty for working out and staying in shape. We called it the "sin of self-worship!" Great to hear you are enjoying life. I am also enjoying life more than ever since I left Christian fundamentalism.

Telmi said...

Sharon,

To shed irrational beliefs is a sign of maturity.

Live your life the way you want, if that makes you happy and is in no way harmful to others.

Anonymous said...

I hear you, Sharon. I have changed the way I dress, too, a little bit.

We all find a way to express our non-Christianity. For you is the way you dress. For me is mostly what I read and the type of friends I have. But it doesn't matter what we do, as long as we are doing something to change the old patterns.

Some people don't know how hard it is to change lifelong behavioral patterns.

stronger now said...

to carl k.,

Dressing a certain way can be fun sometimes. Is that not meaning enough? Pull that stick out of your ass!

to Sharon,

You go girl!

Billybee said...

Sharon,
I found that christianity (depending on the group you were with) wants it's people to conform to a certain "look". My wife and I play a game we call; "Spot The X-tian!". When ever we're out & about we try to 'spot the mormon' or 'spot the pentacostal'...I suppose it's a bit rude to profile people in that way, but it's all in fun, so, what the hell?
People like yourself who think and dress outside of the box will have a hard time submitting to the requirments.
Keep stretching your wings and remember; "To thine own self be True"

Richard M said...

carl k. -
I dont think she was suggesting she used to be a christian, but is now building a brand-new life based on fashion. I think she was saying she is now exploring the world, (partially) freed from her former Inner Calvinist telling her how awful she is.

Exploration and enjoyment of the world is one of the most basic of human pleasures. Every one-year-old does it. Christianity has to work you over pretty good in order to grind that out of you, and it is learned again only with effort. And there most certainly is meaning to be found in that.

Richard

Sharon said...

“Anonymous” wrote, Good for you Sharon…Its good to hear that you are no longer killing your personality by trying to be "Christ-like"…I often felt guilty for working out and staying in shape.
Yes, indeed, the control and influence of Christianity killed my personality big time. And I was always judging people who worked out and kept in shape. It just didn’t make sense to me. How, I thought, can a woman be a godly person and not dress frumpy?! Frumpy was where it was at for me!
“Billybee” gave me high praise indeed by referring to me as "people who think and dress outside of the box." I love this website! People are so encouraging! And thank you, Billybee, for telling the story of the game you and your wife play when you’re people-watching. That was great. I know just what you mean. You’re not being judgmental but observant and you’re thinking critically and noticing the thoughts that occur to you when you notice certain sights in your environment.
To “Richard M,” you’re right. I did not mean that I’m building a new life based on fashion but I meant that I am exploring the world. Thanks for helping me out. Yeah! I feel like Christopher Columbus! And you said, "Exploration and enjoyment of the world is one of the most basic of human pleasures. Every one-year-old does it. Christianity has to work you over pretty good in order to grind that out of you, and it is learned again only with effort. And there most certainly is meaning to be found in that."
Wow! What insight! Yeah, I feel like a one-year-old in my delight in exploring the world. My friends lovingly (and sometimes not so lovingly) make fun of me when I act just like a kid who’s seeing the blue sky for the first time. Christianity sure did work me over pretty good and grind out of me my exploration and enjoyment of the world, as you say. And by the way, it was women’s trauma groups that helped me learn those things again. Dusty Miller’s ATRIUM groups to be exact. They taught me that my connections with nature, others, and myself had been broken through trauma. And ATRIUM taught me ways to reconnect with all three of those. And, yes! OH HOW MEANINGFUL my life has become as a reconnected, whole person!

whateverlolawants said...

Good for you, Sharon! I loved your comment right above this one. And yay for dressing like you want to dress. :)

Anonymous said...

So, the post-Christian you is just a conspicuous consumer? At least when you were a Christian, from what i understood from your post, you favored values and belief over vain material expression.

.:webmaster:. said...

Anonymous,

I wonder if you would be so rude if this woman had escaped Islam or some other religion besides fundamentalistic Christianity. It's not that she has abandoned "values" and "belief," whatever you might mean when you use those words, it's that she has escaped your particular religious cult that has you all pissed off.

Get lost.

slingshot said...

Anonymous, remember, you are referring here to christian values and beliefs, which she no longer partakes of. You are also missing the point. She now finds pleasure in expressing herself freely through her appearance, and she could not do so before because of her beliefs. Self-expression is liberating, as a matter of fact, and apparently so. It seems as though she was repressed for years by the christian churches doctrines and beliefs and has now set herself free. Perhaps you should try doing the same! You seem to be somewhat anal-retentive...

Way to go, Sharaon. Congratulations on your decision to set yourself free...

slingshot said...

Sharon, I, too, have found that christianity's influence continues to haunt me as I go through life. I was born and raised catholic, then became a christian around the age of twenty. By the time I reached my mid-thirties,I had grown to disbelieve in either of the two religions. Still, I find myself subconsciously practicing christian and catholic beliefs, such as believing that Christ is with me wherever I go. I still fear the christian hell, even though I no longer believe it exists. It remains in my subconscious and I resent the church for that. I would rather live without fear and enjoy life, yet I am stuck with this crap I once believed in. Nobody knows what happens when we die, and I was taught from an early age that one would burn forever unless one has "accepted Jesus." Now, I find that particular doctrine of "salvation" to be rather absurd. "Accept Jesus and you're 'saved!'" It pains me to hear such a thing. It really is quite nonsensical. I suppose I started thinking about christianity instead of believing it, as so many here have done. Any way, enough ranting. I just wanted to say that I sympathize with you, or anybody, who leaves christianity and finds that it haunts them for a long time.

slingshot said...

Also, anonymous, you mentioned "vain material expression." Remember, you are again speaking from a christian standpoint. We here don't believe in christianity. I think it's great that she is learning to live her life to the fullest after being repressed by religious teachings for so long.

Christianity is nonsense, really.

Hey, anon, perhaps you might be able to answer a few questions I have, since you must be a "true christian," the way you speak. If it is true that a christian is "saved" for once having "accepted Jesus," then, why did Jesus say that one must become as a child in order to enter heaven? If a christian does not "become as a child," then he or she will not enter heaven, according to Christ, since, if one does not, then "ye shall in no wise enter therein," according to Christ. Whether or not a person has "accepted Jesus" is of no consequence here. One must "become as a child" to enter heaven! Why does Jesus defy the basic christian doctrine of "salvation?" Elsewhere, in the gospels, Christ says that ones "body and soul" will go to hell for it's sins. According to the church, only the soul goes to heaven OR hell! The body goes into the ground! How do you explain this (reincarnation would explain this, btw)? How do you explain First John 2:2 where we are told (by John, the author of the book of John)that "Christ is the propitiation (sacrifice) for...the sins of the whole world!" According to Christ, we go to hell for our sins, and according to John, Christ is the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world so that we are ALL forgiven, yet, according to the church, only those who've "accepted Jesus" are "saved" from hell! How do you make sense of this? Our sins which damn us are forgiven, yet, we are still damned?

The only answer to this is that it is the church who damns us, not God.

Fuck the church.

I personally have concluded that there is something wrong with the bible, and christians won't admit it.

slingshot said...

Let's not forget that there are two ways to be "saved!" One may "confess with ones mouth that Christ is Lord and believe that God hath raised him from the dead and one shall be "saved." Imagine that. There are two ways into heaven.

Here's another gospel passage for you, anonymous.

Mathew 23:13-Christ said, "Woe unto you scribes and pharisees. For ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men. for ye neither go in yourselves, nor suffer you to allow others that are entering to go therein." This is not an exact quote, since I don't have my bible with me.

In the above passage, Christ refers to entry into heaven in the present tense, disregarding the afterlife altogether, when he says "for ye neither go in yourselves..."

How do you explain this?

Turn to John 3:19. What do you make of the condemnation of John 3:19? Close examination of the preceding passages reveals that said condemnation is the "fallen state of grace," yet, the church uses John 3:16 in support of its doctrine of salvation where one is "saved" from eternal damnation in hell! How do you explain this? Again, Christ and the church are at odds with each other...

Christianity is a big lie.

Sharon said...

Carl K. said, “I'm not sure you'll find many answers or much meaning in dressing nice, either, to tell the truth.”
Thank you, Carl K. At the outset, I saw some truth in your comment. What meaning is there to be found in clothing? What meaning is there to be found in dressing a certain way to feel good? Is feeling good superficial? Is feeling good futile? After all, when I’m dead, I’m not going to have any control over my appearance as I lay in a casket with people viewing my dead body. Can meaning be found in something so temporal as dressing for self esteem, self confidence, or self expression? But my gut told me you were wrong about not being able to find meaning in such things. However, I didn’t know why until I read some of the more helpful comments.
Stronger now wrote to you,
"Dressing a certain way can be fun sometimes. Is that not meaning enough? Pull that stick out of your ass!"

While I would not have told you,“Pull that stick out of your ass,” hearing “stronger now” say it, was refreshing. I agree, fun is sometimes meaning enough, and fun was certainly meaning enough in my case. Thank you, “stronger now.”

I will admit, Carl K., that dressing nice can sometimes leave me feeling empty, but no one strategy works all the time for finding meaning. As I am learning late in life, everything I do to find meaning is experimental. If one thing doesn’t work, I can try another. If buying a new dress doesn’t make me feel good, I can paint my nails!

stronger now said...

Sharon, glad I could help.

"If buying a new dress doesn’t make me feel good, I can paint my nails!"


If those don't work, go for the fun betty hair color!

http://www.bettybeauty.com/

;) SHOCKING!!!

Archived Testimonial Pageviews the past 30 days