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Old 23rd April 2013, 07:38 PM
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I am 19 years old, I just moved out of my parents home 11/2 weeks ago. I'm barely making it by as it is now by moving out, rent and my own groceries have added to the load. I'm thankful that I was able to register as an independent and get some rental assistance from the government. Don't get me wrong, I hate taking free money from the government. I consider it only temporary until I can get some kind of formal education from University.

The reason for moving out is a very long story, stretching around 15 years of my life from Canada to Europe, the Middle East and Australia.

A lot happened during my years. I was born and raised Pentecostal (not the church but home groups) until I was around 10 years old then my parents became a type of Messianic believing in the Messiah while following the Torah. In a way you can call it a blend of Judaism (without the added rituals) and Christianity. My parents traveled from group to group to help the people. I saw a lot of hypocritical people, lies and a shitload of delusion through it all. But I was taught and told that it was normal and we "the more holy ones" were to help them to change and see their mistakes, etc, etc. I believed it until I was 18. I used to be very religious from the age of 15 to 18 I spent 1 entire year forgoing all computers and technology and did nothing but read the bible, eat, drink, and even fast. I thought I knew Him, I thought I even heard him. Even though I saw my younger sister say she heard Him speak to her that she was to do so-and-so but they often always never happened and caused a lot of emotional upset as she was convinced. Each time that happened she would sober up and seek Him out again and hear something else and the pattern repeated. I kept silent as I was afraid to hurt her or get on the wrong side of god by destroying her faith. It made me question whether I was hearing Him. Then an 'event' happened that spanned 1 year that left me devastated with nothing to hold on to. My faith was in shreds and I was desperately trying the hold the pieces together. To explain this event requires a long post as it's very complicated. This event is what shook me down to the very core, I could no longer trust anyone to give me the truth, not my family, not god, not even myself. I've yearned to share and talk about it with someone that is NOT religious just to get some headway and understanding. I tried to go to a counselor, the first one told me to go to church. The second was a young lady, but once I found out she was Christian I couldn't bring myself to go again. I almost broke down and accepted her invitation to go to a youth group at a nearby church. But I couldn't I just couldn't do it.

I've seen a lot of people say they love god and follow Him but inside they're crappy people and don't really care about him, it disgusted me and still does.

I (when I was religious) swore to myself I'd never be like that, and I hold to that promise to today.

I converted from religious to non-religious but assured my parents I still believed in god.

Now I need to find myself, I'm moved out, out of their sphere of influence, away from the peer pressure of having to be religious.

I want to be a good person, make my mark on the world. Change it. The lack of education, and struggle with depression makes this hard. But it's my vision, my goal.

I want to share my experience and come to terms with it and be free. But from past religious learning I'm scared to 'betray my brethren' some voice in the back of my head (figuratively) keeps telling me what if you're wrong. If you are and you blurt it all out, make god, your brethren, yourself, and your family look like a fool you're destined for hell and eternal disown and torture.

Thursday my family is celebrating Passover, my parents, brother and sisters, yes it's at a different time than the Jews (something to do with the moon) They've invited me for dinner.

This tears at my heart. I know I do not truly believe, and if I do, then I see Him as cruel.

If I remember correctly, non-believers and those not worthy are not to partake of the Passover.

I do not want to be a hypocrite. My entire family does not celebrate any of the world's holidays including Christmas due to their paganism, I don't either and don't intend to start.

I feel going for the meal is wrong. I would be lying and celebrating something I don't believe in. Not the qualities of a good person.

But I know the anguish I would cause my dad, my mom too but mostly my dad. It would tear him apart, destroy him even if I said that I no longer believe in god and want nothing to do with him. He would treat it as his fault for not being a 'good' father and pressure me to change my mind via a BIG guilt trip.

I don't want to face them, but I have to, because running away hurts too and solves nothing. I would live with guilt for the rest of my life, and imagine the hurt I would cause my siblings.

This post has become long and I'm not sure if I've got things clear or if it's all mumbo-jumbo. I'm just typing as it comes out.

I love my family very much, but do not know what to do.
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Old 23rd April 2013, 08:07 PM
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Default Re: Scared

Hi, fromthericefields.

This is a message sent to all who find their way to these forums.

We like people, and we like facts too!

We're friendly but we're skeptical, and if somebody calls for proof, it's not an accusation. Only the strong ideas thrive here: we try to respect people. (We do not tolerate personal abuse.)

You may already have visited these other handy places:
* New Member Information
* Welcome from AFA president
* For those interested in learning, I recommend the Atheism Resource Thread maintained by Fearless.
* And a quick look at our reserved spot for belief-based discussion, Fantasy Island, includes The Great Big List, a sort-of "things we've seen before" for those of faith, and general rules of argument for the forum.

If you've got questions, please ask. Moderators have red name tags, but many of our friendly people may have the answers you need.

Enjoy the forums. We hope to see plenty from you in discussions.

Have fun.
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Old 23rd April 2013, 08:09 PM
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Default Re: Scared

Hello ftrf. Welcome to the forum.

I have deleted the other thread. Sorry for the delay, a bit busy.

Sorry to hear about what is going on in your life. I hope things work out for you. Others here can offer some good advice I am sure.
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Old 23rd April 2013, 08:10 PM
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Default Re: Scared

Hi fromthericefields

Wow. There is a lot of emotion in that posting. I don't know what to tell you. It's a decision you need to make. I think you have been and are being very brave.

There are some counseling services you can reach out to. I'll see what I can find.
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Old 23rd April 2013, 08:11 PM
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Default Re: Scared

Cult Counselling Australia
P.O Box 34
Balaclava, Victoria, 3183
Australia
Tel: +61 3 9523 2288
Fax: +61 3 9527 5060
Email: liberty@planet.net.au

They can link you up with someone you can talk to professionally.
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Old 23rd April 2013, 08:12 PM
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Default Re: Scared

Beyond all of that. Welcome. I hope you find the support and people willing to listen and not judge here that you are looking for.

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Old 23rd April 2013, 08:27 PM
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Default Re: Scared

Quote:
fromthericefields said View Post

I want to share my experience and come to terms with it and be free. But from past religious learning I'm scared to 'betray my brethren' some voice in the back of my head (figuratively) keeps telling me what if you're wrong. If you are and you blurt it all out, make god, your brethren, yourself, and your family look like a fool you're destined for hell and eternal disown and torture.

I can't help you with a neat path through the swamps you're crossing. I don't know that there is a way to deal with the issues at hand without making compromises you are uncomfortable with or offending people you care about.
What I can tell you, which may or may not be helpful, is that offense is a reaction, not an imposition. If you offend someone, the offense is defined by how they react, and you don't get any say in that. You only get to choose how you act and react. If your acting in an honest and consistent manner offends someone, there's not much you can do about it.

The nagging question of "What if I'm wrong?" still crops up in my thinking a long time since I put my faith aside. I think it's a good thing, giving credence to my claim to open mindedness in my atheist position. I am not dogmatic about rejecting faith claims, just assessing evidence.

There's a sign outside the church up the road: "Read the Bible - It will scare the hell out of you," as though hell was a problem for anyone ignorant of the Bible in the first place. This solving of a problem you didn't have is common in religions, and is why I think you aren't betraying anyone by leaving such bullshit thinking behind. You've been sold a pig in a poke. Asking for your money back is reasonable. Anyone trying to guilt you into keeping the poke hasn't thought through the ethics of the situation to the extent you have.

I can imagine you experiencing a lot of pain before this resolves and I feel for you. The one thing I feel comfortable recommending is seeking professional help for depression. The safety nets Australia has for such things are imperfect, with much depending on the individuals filling the roles in your locale, but there are systems in place in most places and they can be very helpful.

Sorry I can't offer more than a perspective and a smidgeon of advice you may already have arrived at.
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Old 23rd April 2013, 08:37 PM
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Default Re: Scared

Hiya Fromthericefields.
You are a very strong person to still be clear thinking and analytical after the recent events which must have been very hard for you. Many here will be familiar with your tale. It is one that is not uncommon amongst atheists who have 'come out' after a lifetime of religion. There are many complexities to face during the transition but one by one they will dissolve and like others here, you might just find that if you choose, you may have a new found strength and less challenges as you begin the next chapter in your life.

You may learn to love your new found freedom Fromthericefields.
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Last edited by Annie; 23rd April 2013 at 08:41 PM.
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Old 23rd April 2013, 08:38 PM
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Default Re: Scared

Hi fromthericefields,

You do seem to be going through a considerable quantity of shit right now but rest assured it will get better. Do not underestimate the love your parents have for you. This stuff is hard wired into parents no mater what degree of religious bullshit they have been subjected to. You will find this out yourself when you get older and have children.

Use your head, follow the logic, it will pull you through.
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Old 23rd April 2013, 11:49 PM
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Default Re: Scared

Hi ftrf, and welcome to the forum. It is extremely sad that it's under such circumstances, and really feel for you.

Reading your post, I think you've correctly identified these priority areas for you -

1. Establishing your new life in a physical sense (rent & accom, food, work, education, budgeting);
2. Establishing your new mental / emotional life, including away from previous religious influences and beliefs;
3. Establishing a new relationship with your family, in light of all of the above.

I acknowledge that they will affect each other to some extent (relationship with family affecting mental / emotional life, for example), but it also seems to me that some hard choices on ordering those priorities will need to be made.

Unfortunately, they are decisions that only you can ultimately make. FWIW, if I were in your shoes, I'd probably be weighting that decision more towards priorities (1) and (2), for the immediate future. It's important to stabilise things physically and mentally first, I reckon. Just my $0.02.

IYO, how might your family respond if you tried the following: "Sorry, I can't come to Passover dinner, but I'd still really like to see you all. Can I come and see you on the weekend instead?". Might that work as a circuit-breaker for you?

And although people here naturally want to help, there are inherent limits to what we can usefully do in practice. So, in addition to prudie's links, I'd also mention the crisis support service provided by Lifeline, headspace, beyondblue and your local (bulk billing) GP as places to consider in terms of getting support.

My best wishes in dealing with this. I hope you'll return here and let us know how things are going, or even to vent, if you feel comfortable to do so.
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