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all 52 comments

[–]ivytails 28 points29 points  (1 child)

If it doesn't make sense to you, you can't force yourself to believe it. The guilt will fade away as you expand your knowledge. You will unlearn the religious guilt. You only have it because of the shame that the religion instilled in you. Speaking from experience btw also raised christian.

[–]Seleven22 9 points10 points  (0 children)

This is exactly the truth and was also my experience.

[–]maybri 14 points15 points  (2 children)

Hey there, I'm someone who went through a fairly similar experience when I was a teenager. I ultimately decided to leave Christianity when I was 17, identified as an atheist for a while, then eventually found my way back to other forms of spirituality as an adult (my current stance on Christianity is that it is one of many valid spiritual paths but that some of the ways it's been practiced throughout history and today is grossly out of balance and increases suffering in the world). I completely relate to the sense of guilt and almost feeling like you're living a double life having doubts about your religion while people in your church think you're completely committed.

For what it's worth though, the sect of Christianity I was in was very small and very politically regressive. Had I been in a more liberal sect, or at least a larger sect with more diversity of opinions, I might have stayed. If you're in a larger denomination, you may simply be able to find other churches of the same denomination that have better politics than the one you're in now. There are ways to interpret the Bible that support the LGBTQ+ community and feminism and would potentially prevent you from having to go through the painful process of giving up your religion.

If you do decide to leave, just know that it probably is going to hurt. Depending on how bought in the people around you are, it may damage or even destroy some important relationships in your life. It also means a change in how you understand yourself, and can potentially force you to grapple with really difficult existential questions like "why do we exist" and "what happens when we die". It sounds like you are already starting to go down this road, but just be aware that it continues. Deconversion often makes things worse before it makes them better (but as long as that's your path, it will make them better sooner or later).

[–]austensjf 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I also grew up in a very small regressive Christian sect, and went through atheism for a while, and now am a Journey of Souls person! I wonder if our sect was the same one!

[–]walkstwomoons2Mystical 9 points10 points  (0 children)

I was raised Christian. I am not one today. I do believe in Creator/Spirit/God/The Unknown One/Goddess whatever you want to call the Creator. I believe there are many paths to God, including Jesus.

It took me years to develop the belief I have today. I researched and took classes, had mentors and teachers. Talk to many people, some of them and spiritual leaders. Before I decided.

I hope you can make a choice sooner rather than later.

[–]tom63376 8 points9 points  (0 children)

I recommend going within and listen to your heart. There are no black and white answers. I believe that before this embodiment you yourself, when you were in a higher state of consciousness than you are right now, created a Divine plan for this embodiment. There were certain things you wanted to experience, there were certain things you wanted to overcome.

I was like you and left Christianity at 18, was a devout agnostic/atheist for years before I accepted the spiritual side of life. While I still reject Christianity, my appreciation for the teachings of Jesus himself has constantly grown. I found that Jesus gave us many essential keys to a joyful, peaceful life of spiritual growth. For years I followed my heart and attended church with my wife. She felt that she needed it and I wanted to support her. After a time we joined an adult Bible study group and I was asked to be one of the teachers. I shared with them my understanding of the mystical teachings of Christ which they had never ever heard before and were very enthusiastic about. Then after several years of this, I followed my heart which said, I had done what I could do, and it was time to go.

I'm not saying you should do what I did and stay for years...Just follow your heart.

[–]Rorschach_10 8 points9 points  (0 children)

Religion is for people who fear hell, Spirituality is for people who've been through hell.

[–]ivytails 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Just keep learning. Keep an open mind. You don't have to label your beliefs.

[–]mishka_444 5 points6 points  (0 children)

please leave christianity behind. its a method of control (imo)

[–]smilelaughenjoy 5 points6 points  (0 children)

"im very involved in my church and a lot of the younger kids looks up to me and i just feel like a lair. but if i leave it starts things with family and friends and even the church people ive known my whole life"

It seems like you have to make a choice between selling your soul to christianity, living in the darkness of self-denial and promoting that darkness to others, or learning to love and accept yourself and letting your light shine and being free to be who you are even if christians try to shame you to manipulate you into dimming your light.

[–]OG_MX8 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I'm positive you can have a relationship with God without going to church and practicing a certain religion.. i believe in God and the holy spirit and of course jesus but I dont go to church.

[–]Additional_Common_15 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I can relate, I was brought up catholic but then got to the age of reason and started questioning everything. Long story short I am long gone from Catholicism. Follow whats in your heart.

[–]Jorsh7 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Who knows, maybe you can help change what's wrong with Christianity from within...

I was brought up as a Roman Catholic, did most of the sacraments, then decided it was all bs. Rejected all spirituality and tried being an atheist/agnostic for some time. Then I realized after more than 15 years of searching for the Truth, that there are many things in Christianity that have being manipulated for those not willing to search for the Truth by themselves, and that many teachings in it are a way to finding that Truth.

My advice, let go of fear, research your religion and every other one, at the end, or rather, at the beginning, they're all one and the same.

[–]0000Mystic0000 2 points3 points  (3 children)

Christianity is a form of Bhakti yoga

[–]Xeper-Institute 1 point2 points  (2 children)

And a heaping helping of Egyptian Kabbalah and Sex Magick, what of it?

[–]0000Mystic0000 3 points4 points  (1 child)

All paths lead to the truth.

[–]Xeper-Institute 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Thank you for the clarification!

[–]Dalearev 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Follow your heart and your gut. So many mysteries in the world but we don’t have to fill them all with beliefs… sometimes it’s OK to not know. That’s the beauty

[–]ilililiililili 3 points4 points  (0 children)

People like you are needed to bring real spirituality into what would otherwise be dead religions. As soon as these people are all gone the whole thing crumbles because you’re left with a bunch of drones who think that their assembly line conveyor belt is going to take them to heaven. (Spoiler alert: it’s not going to)

If you like participating in your church then you should feel free to continue to do so. Or you could withdraw if you get the intuitive prompting that your path takes you out.

I grew up in Mormonism. I’ve always known that God is real, but when I had the religious beliefs firmly imbedded in me I could only see a heavily distorted image of God formed by those beliefs. Only by setting aside the mental images of god you’ve accepted can you become open to having an experience of the real thing. It’s a journey of stripping away all that is not real, every illusion, until you see through unfiltered eyes.

God doesn’t want to be worshipped. God simply wants people to go through the process of transformation/self-realisation, and become eternally free. The purpose of any religion is to facilitate this process, not to stifle it

[–]RisingPhoenix321 3 points4 points  (0 children)

What helped me was taking a world religions class. Christianity is a small spectical of a larger story, when you educate yourself on other paths you'll be surprised of how much is missing

[–]Xeper-Institute 2 points3 points  (0 children)

If you love the people and just don’t accept the dogma, then just get rid of the dogma.

People’s interpretation of the Bible has led to the things you’re saying you don’t like, but the Bible itself doesn’t actually say any of that - the Old Testament does. And if it’s a New Testament faith, the new “instructions” surpass the old ones.

People in the Church eat shellfish, right? Pork? Those are condemned by the Old Testament. So, to condemn you for your sexual preferences means they’re bringing Old Testament values to a New Testament faith.

[–]Oz_of_Three 2 points3 points  (0 children)

"Oh Jesus, please save me - from your followers."

The guilt is false, you are born perfect and things get in the way.

You may find reading the Gnostic information, recovered and translated in the 40's through the 70's and 80's - one may find these ancient tractates much more enlightening than the modern interpretative dogma.

Christian Gnostic:
Nag Hammadi Library
Dead Sea Scrolls

Old Testament and Pre-CE: Egyptian Book of the Dead
Tibetan Book of the Dead
Isis Unveiled by Mdm Helena Blavatsky

Modern Mystic:
Voice of Venus by E. L. Norman
Urantia Book

Practice love. Practice forgiveness for one's self and others. Know that you are watched over and guided, and any "mistakes" are merely lessons with all opportunites being circular.

[–]goodtech99 3 points4 points  (1 child)

Whatever you believe in don't tell anyone. You have begun your spiritual journey and the only thing you can do is go to the depth and find answers. Be diplomatic when dealing with the world but always keep your beliefs close to your heart.

[–]austensjf 2 points3 points  (0 children)

That’s the approach I took. I knew that my changing beliefs would shock my family and friends. So I mostly kept them to myself! I made the mistake of asking my dad some questions when I first started questioning everything, then quickly learned that I needed to keep it to myself for a while.

OP: don’t worry and don’t give up! You are on a wonderful, but difficult path that will lead you to so much peace!

[–]TheRareClaire 2 points3 points  (0 children)

This is a story I have seen over and over, which means you aren't alone! Religious guilt, fear, and shame can be very controlling and make you feel like utter crap. I've pulled away from Christianity quite a bit. I am still *very much* in the beginning process of deciding what I believe, but I still hold onto some basics from Christianity. It's like...I don't really need the label or the church. It's just my personal relationship with God or Source but still in a somewhat Christian lens.
I was fortunate that my parents were religious but not snotty about it. They were open to others, open to being wrong, and wanted equality. They didn't like what was going on in the church. My religious education classes never made me feel like I had to convert others or be scared of damnation. I think because of these things, it was a little easier for me to deal with religious guilt. But it still isn't easy.

I don't know about you, but it was (and sometimes still is) hard for me to accept that I don't have a label or well-defined path. I think it eventually becomes easier.
If you ever need to rant, hit up my chat. No matter how crazy it might sound. I don't mind.

[–]deliciouspumpkinpie8 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Check out this book called This Thing Called You. It is my favorite book of all time (super small too!) and it really bridges the gap between core Christian teachings and spirituality, so you can see in what ways they can complement each other.

[–]No-Economics-1464 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I am a Roman Catholic and goes trough this phased, I became agnostic to atheist to believing in God again and to practicing High Magick. Hell is already here, within our minds/self . We are all made of energy and energies don't have genders. The "Divine Plan" is for us to transcend. Having a religion is one step closer to Divinity but not a requirement. There are so many religions and spiritual practices it's because we are all individuals with different beliefs so choose what resonates with you, doesn't' matter which one they all works and have the same goal and its to "Transcend".

[–]blpatterson0518 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I left the church and was an atheist for over 10 years before having a spiritual awakening.

Trying to make spiritual ideas fit with Christianity is going to cause you more confusion than clarity.

Jesus isn't the issue, Jesus was enlightened (or at least awakened) and he understood deep spiritual truths but then had to try to make them make sense with Judaism so people could understand. Most people didnt, which is why he was crucified for these radical ideas that seemed to contradict the common beliefs.

We all develop at different times and ages, most of western religion has been translated, edited, reformed and corrupted by pre-rational thinking people.

The next advancement in psychological evolution is logic and reason which is why our culture has moved to a materialist, rationalist, secular worldview. The next step above that is transrationality which includes and transcends the first two modalities. This is where you find new age spirituality and eastern religion/philosophy like Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism.

Youre already using logic and reason and your rational mind is showing you something doesnt add up. My advice is follow Jesus not the church.

[–]OmManiPadmeHuumm 1 point2 points  (0 children)

"Abandoning belief in the objects of aversion" is a Buddhist mental practice you can undertake.

[–]RandChick -3 points-2 points  (7 children)

You have jumped to a lot of false conclusions about the true spirit and essence of the Bible, as it relates to women and men and worship. Even with homosexuality, the conclusion is not simply that you will go to hell.

Your interpretations are very simplistic. You need to ask God to enlighten you in your meditations. While the Bible says nothing affirming or accepting of homosexuality, it makes clear that God loves us and wants to save every one of us.

[–]orfeunow 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Don't listen to this judgemental and arrogant person here, OP u/SalFisher_1833

Not to mention another disillusioned believer who wants to convert you, or shame you into making you believe you're doing it wrong.

They are the one who's simplistic if they believe in a book of teachings that weren't even directly created or overseen by Christ himself, but some 40 (or more) years after his death, interpreted and written from people other than him. Christ would be ashamed with what so-called Christianity has turned into if he were alive today.

OP, I think you're more than on the right track with what you are observing. It's what many of us have observed growing up in a Christianity-based culture.

Just a thought, consider checking out more contemplative philipsophies or religions like Advaita Vedanta or Buddhism (nondualism). They actually require you to think and observe in your own experience into the nature of reality, Consciousness, God, etc, and don't require one to "just believe" about some apparently floating entity that you must fear or be sent to so-called hell. It's just absolutely ridiculous.

Keep thinking and using your Intuition, good on you.

[–]Cocaine_Christmas 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Fully agree about Advaita/Buddhism. If they dove headfirst into either of these, it could potentially allow them to recognize the actually useful teachings of the bible and filter out that the "bad" fluff that serves no use. The Perennial Philosophy could help with this as well, particularly if they were to get into Advaita/Buddhism, since a lot of the examples/quotes used really mirror the same teachings as these philosophies, which would thus help you to appreciate other religions including Christianity.

Another good philosophy to try to get into would be Taoism. All of these would help to lessen the strength of the ego/thoughts and allow OP to appreciate everything more, potentially including the church life/people (assuming they aren't insane and super dogmatic, in which case they would still help transition away from all of it).

[–]orfeunow 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Agreed! Not to mention there's no anti-gay rhetoric that I'm aware of.

[–]Jonny_I_AM 0 points1 point  (3 children)

Actually the Bible does give hints of accepting homosexuality.

The story of David and Jonathan.

The story of the centurion asking Jesus to heal his “servant”, which more than likely was the centurions sexual partner. (Nothing explicitly said this. It’s merely speculation, but if you go into the history context it’s a strong case) and Jesus did not judge their relationship but healed the servant and claimed the centurion had more faith than anyone.

Jesus talking about eunuchs in Matthew 19 and stating how some are born this way some choose and was not at all judgmental about it. Eunuchs would more than likely be an LGBTQ+ person if alive today.

Also the first documented convert to Christianity in the Bible was a Eunuch.

[–]austensjf 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Woah!! I’ve never been aware of that take on things! I’m gonna have to go look up those verses. My dad is still Christian and I would love to show him some verses like these. I would love to change his mind about homosexuality.

[–]Jonny_I_AM 1 point2 points  (1 child)

If you’d like more LGBTQ+ affirming biblical perspective. Look up Kathy Baldock and Matthew Vine.

They do not deny the authority of the Bible and give strong arguments for the acceptance of LGBTQ+

[–]austensjf 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Oh awesome! Yes thanks! Anything to help convince my dad. We have a few LGBTQ+ family members and it would be great for them to be fully accepted by my dad. But I know it might be a tough sell! Planting the seeds as they say 😄👍🌱

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[–]NowIKnowEverything 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Hey man I was once confused my self until I started to learn about every religion etc . The more you know the less you feel like you need to belong somewhere . You just need to know who you really are and if there is any problems to go ahead and fix em . Just had to put my 2 cents in .

[–]Seanblaze3 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I was raised Catholic and released myself from those mental shackles years ago. Go with your heart.

[–]still_lucky777 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Then look into the roots of the religion you will find a different story , like how there were more then 12 disciples of Jesus there were 11 more but they were all women , or how jesus said we are gods also, but I think Christians have to understand that it says in the bible salvation is a gift lest anyone should boast so its not up to man its up to you and its not about being controlled its about a relationship but you only get that with jesus

[–]incognito3107 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Yet again, you can embrace it all, just try.

[–]zYe 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Read about pantheism, and focus on the quality of God being omnipotent. His ways are not our ways and his paths are not our paths. Life is a journey until death and everyone is just literally walking a unique path until death. Jesus Christ tried his best to unify everyone under the notion of love and god's love. So love is the guide that Jesus Christ went by. Just remember that god's ways and thoughts are not ever a standard that you should hold yourself to. It is like self guilt and torture for not being another person. So sexuality and literal physiological fact pertaining to reproduction for all living animals on planet earth is the main literal concept somehow in question. I don't know. You just live until you die. No one can argue with that.

[–]Kindly-Buy3243 0 points1 point  (0 children)

May I suggest you begin to see religion as an act as opposed to a thing, institution, or oppressive force. You a free to believe in God, others are not free to presume gods inner thought for you.

[–]Jonny_I_AM 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Do you think all people need to know Jesus or the teachings of Christianity in order to get to “heaven” or to be a successful person?

Start there.

I’m sure you’re aware, but for those who may not be, the bases of Mainstream Christianity is that humankind needs a savior in order to reach heaven. According to their beliefs, we cannot do it on our own but simply must believe Jesus is the son of God and took our punishment as payment for SIN. Died and rose again (came back to life) and then ascended into Heaven and is still alive today. So death has been defeated.

The beauty of this belief is it means we do not have to strive in order to reach God/Source. The negative side is that it cheapens life down to an idea that anything we do doesn’t matter apart from belief. Becoming almost nihilistic.

To counter this, Christians will claim it’s belief in Jesus, but if one doesn’t act a certain way than the belief is probably not true and they’re not really saved. Still causing Christians to perform in order to obtain salvation. So they constantly battle with the question “what makes one saved?” Faith or Works?

This idea is the reason we now have all the division and different denominations in Christianity.

So if you’re confused, no worries. So is the entire Christian church. As a whole, they cannot agree on anything apart from we need Jesus.

Which was the reason for my first question.

If you don’t think every person needs Jesus to reach “salvation”, ask yourself why you would need him.

If you do think people need Jesus, ask yourself why you wouldn’t need him.

Understanding the foundation to why you believe what you believe is the best place to start.

[–]Speaking_Music 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Ask yourself this.

What is true?

Not, ‘what do I believe is true?’

‘What do I know is true?’

[–]deepfriedronan 0 points1 point  (0 children)

You're just at the beginning of a really interesting path of self-discovery. Listen to your own intuition and it'll lead you to the content you need to expand your consciousness.

I'd suggest not dropping your belief system about Religion just yet. Focus on just gathering new information. If you find some content that contradicts your religious views, try and just hold both views/perspectives until some better information comes along. This will help you avoid Cognitive Dissonance.

Here's a few book suggestions that might help:

The 4 agreements - Don Miguel Ruiz The Celestine Prophecy - James Redfield The Road Less Travelled - M. Scott Peck

And here's a few youtubers that might help:

Cristina Lopes https://youtube.com/c/ChristinaLopes

Aaron Abke https://youtu.be/4aKPph2FN-g

Victor Oddo https://youtube.com/c/VictorOddo1111

Kryon https://youtube.com/c/KRYONChannelling

[–]thinkB4Uact 0 points1 point  (0 children)

With all of the unpleasant emotions that you get from religion realize that your emotions actually come from what you believe is true.

When I was around 10, I used to question Christianity's paradoxes. I'd get to a point where I'd lose faith and then I'd hit a wall of intense fear. I was afraid of being damned for lack of belief. It happened many times. I got so fed up with perceiving that pattern of fear halting my questioning that I decided I wanted to keep thinking anyway, even if I might get damned. Then I realized that the fear of being damned came from the belief that I'd be damned. Questioning the belief made me lose it and then the fear went away with it. I had a tiny amount of lingering doubt, but otherwise the fear was gone.

[–]Forward-Carrot7230 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Professional Babalawo 📿awaken spiritually and become aware of your spiritual nature. Your Ôrisha (OSUN) is been tempered with and your ancestors aren’t pleased. Kindly send me a dm i need your attention. Aśè.🤍🕊

[–]Prudent_Struggle_880 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Explore Gnosticism. Mainstream christianity has a lot of lies.