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Liberalynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-05 10:35 PM
Original message
Is there anyone here
who is I think the term is a "Recovering Catholic?" I was raised Catholic and went to a Catholic School that practiced corporal punnishment and was verbablly abusive.

Plus as a woman, I feel undervalued not only by the church but the notion of Christianity as a whole.

I have been an agnostic bordering on atheism for over twenty years now but I still struggle with some of the concepts, I feel I had brain washed into me.

Like always turning the other cheek even if it means not standing up for yourself, not feeling pride in yourself or your accomplishments, feeling like your not worthy, all of that.

Please if anyone is out there who successfully put it behind them, could you let me know there is still hope for me to get past this? I am in counseling but so far the brainwash is being stubborn.
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-05 10:40 PM
Response to Original message
1. I am not one but am friends with many
Yes there is hope. It takes time but every moment that goes by is another step in rebuilding your world.

May I recommend finding humanist groups in your area. UU churchs are also a good place for those that no longer have need for dogma but enjoy the contact with a community.

And we are here to talk if you want to talk.
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FM Arouet666 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-05 11:37 PM
Response to Original message
2. Like Az, I cannot directly relate, never had a religion, but
do know many who have made the break. I can only imagine what you must be feeling, especially if you had a particularly negative experience while growing up.

Your not to blame, another innocent trapped in the intolerant world of organized religion. You can certainly bend the ears of all those in the Atheists & Agnostics group.

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Book Lover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-11-05 12:55 AM
Response to Original message
3. Yes
I had a very different educational experience from you, though; I was taught first by Charities (leftists who only taught when they weren't in South America building something) then by Sisters of St Joseph, who expected us to learn and learn well; their sex ed class was accurate and frank, for instance. After reading your post, I think it's a safe bet your 12 years of incarceration (I'm guessing you went for the full 12?) are the cause of your feelings; I was able to pick through the dross of Church teachings to find the good bits and I'm sure it's because of my schooling.

I truly wish I had the magic words to help you unstrap the feelings of inadequacy the Church laid on you. Please feel free to PM me if you feel like unloading :-)
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onager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-11-05 02:30 AM
Response to Original message
4. Welcome!

I can't help much, as I was raised Southern Baptist. Catholics in our neighborhood were about as common as Martians.

The guilt and stuff is pretty much the same, probably. Just with a different accent.

As everyone else has said, feel free to come in and rant to us any old time. Many of us have been in a very similar place at one time or another.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-11-05 07:45 AM
Response to Original message
5. I can also only relate through friends.
And then once I saw the movie The Magdalene Sisters, it suddenly became clear to me just how the Catholic Church destroys many women's psyches. Kudos to you for getting as far as you have! There are many freethought/non-religious counselors out there you might want to check in with. Try a local freethought or secular humanist organization for references.
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GOPFighter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-11-05 08:45 AM
Response to Original message
6. My wife is Catholic so I've had a lot of experience...
...with the Catholic church.

I could write a whole chapter here about the negative affects the Catholic upbringing has had on my wife. For example, when I first met her she was petrified of doing anything wrong lest devils and demons come at night to punish her. She still has terrible nightmares about these demons. I can understand how hard it has been for you to get past your Catholic upbringing. I was raised in a fundamentalist Baptist church and they also do a pretty good job of brainwashing kids, and it took me a long time to get past some of the crap they taught me, things like a good Christian must avoid pride. Even today whenever I get a complement, I get very uncomfortable. If I take even a few seconds to reflect on something I did well, I feel guilty. It's terrible to teach kids they shouldn't get pleasure out of doing a good job.

Keep trying. Obviously when you were kid you wanted to be a good person and you trusted the church to show you how. You took seriously everything they taught you and tried to follow it. Unfortunately, the Catholic church is like a dysfunctional set of parents. You were abused mentally no less than the horror stories you read about in the newspaper where abusive parents have screwed up their kids. It's not your fault, but you are the one left with the baggage.

If you've already been able to get past the existence of that Catholic God, you've got the biggest part of your problem solved. If you have particular concerns, express them here. There some pretty bright people here who can probably help you get past them. A lot of us here have also traveled a long journey from believer to atheist. Good luck.
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JNelson6563 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-11-05 09:45 AM
Response to Original message
7. I am one.
I was Catholic for the first thirty-some years of my life. As I studied history more seriously I came across religion more and more. I looked into the various sects that sprang up. All the petty differences, it began to seem kind of pointless to investigate those points of difference after a time.

Finally I decided to look at the bible with clear vision. Really read the thing. All dogma and doctrine aside. I finally saw what a horrible book it was and how incredibly unenlightened it is. I urge you to do the same. You will discover that anything based on the "wisdom" of this book cannot be "good".

It was a little different for me though as I had also gone to Catholic school etc. but my experiences were pleasant. I loved the nuns and the church and school were a bit of an oasis for me. Additionally my (former) faith had been my only source of solace after my dad's death--certainly the darkest days of my life. It was simply my quest to get the truth that drove me on this mission, no bitterness of bad experiences.

I am now an atheist and it is due to years of studying, researching and reflecting. That is why I have no doubt about my beliefs, or actually lack thereof. I don't think I ever worked harder on anything because it meant so very, very much to me. I think one has to be emotionally ready to see the truth. You must be able to put all emotional thinking aside and employ only reason and logic in this quest.

Another thing that helped me tremendously was a message board, now defunct (sadly), where there was amazing debate. I came on there as a believer but questioning. I saw so many debates between the believers and the athiests. I could not deny that the atheists won every single time and that was because they used only facts, not a bit of emotion based thinking and that was all the believers had.

I haven't really changed, I still try to do good and make a positive difference in the world around me. Only now it's not a ticket to heaven/avoidance of hell I'm working for, it's the Greater Good.

If I can be of any help to you, I know it can be difficult, don't hesitate to PM me.

Best wishes on your journey,

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geniph Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-11-05 03:01 PM
Response to Original message
8. Raising hand
Yup, another one here. However, I left the dogma behind before First Communion - because when Transubstantiation was first explained to me, when I was about 8 years old, I told a priest that it was ritual cannibalism and freaked him out. I became a flaming atheist at that time. Over the years, I've mellowed to the point where now I'm a Militant Agnostic - "We Don't Know and You Don't Either!"

I still like some of the rituals, but the whole faith business pretty much escapes me.
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really annoyed Donating Member (650 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-11-05 08:16 PM
Response to Original message
9. I think it all takes time
I'm a former Baptist. My parents never guided me on religious matters - my friend took me to church with her one day, and I thought it was the greatest thing that ever happened to me!

I was the greatest Baptist - I went to sunday school all the time. I showed up during snow storms. When I got into high school, I was the persecuted Christian. I shook my head at my "liberal" classmates and wore my cross as protection. I sneered at the class atheist - and she was my best friend in elementary school.

Well, that all changed. I finally started to see what religion does to people - including me.

But I still cannot shake those early Baptist years. Everything I believed in had a Biblical basis. However, I can never believe in the God I once believed in. I cannot follow a religion that has caused so much strife.

I'm stuck in agnostic-ville. I tried a UU church, but it's too far from my home to go every Sunday. I cannot say for sure there is no God, but I cannot possibly believe in a higher power that is active on Earth. It just does not seems reasonable to me!

Humanism is a positive "religion" for me. I would love to join a Humanist group, but I'm not sure how many are in my area. I like having a philosophy to live by. Christianity is not the "philosophy" that is positive to me.

It's still a struggle to let go of the past though. Not only that, there is tremendous societal pressure to be faithful. But I'm pretty much over what other people think - you can say all the negative things about non-theism and rant about how wonderful and great your religion is - I just don't care! I'm finally at a point where I can say I'm HAPPY!! I don't live with made-up guilt about "sin" anymore. I know what is good, and I try to live by that. I don't pray when I feel bad or need something - I take action. And I've noticed that my general attitude toward people has become much more loving.

My older sister is an atheist. She seems pretty happy. :)

My uncle is an atheist. He has a genius IQ too. :)

I wish all the best for you! Stay positive, talk with other non-theists, join a group.


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