Hi everybody,

My name's Ben, I'm 24 years old and I've lived in Kansas City all my life. I won't go into the details of my story because I'm sure it's similar to thousands of others to be found on this site: raised fundamentalist Christian, started having doubts around high school, had lost all faith by the end of college.

When I was a kid I was completely horrified by the idea of Hell, and even though I'd been assured that my salvation would keep me from that awful place, I obsessed over it. Years later I would be diagnosed as manic depressive with tendencies toward desperately dark depressive episodes, and I now believe that it was during one or two of these episodes that the thought of Hell pervaded my mind.

Well, I'm going through another dark time. Whether this is chemical or born of guilt toward my family or just the vestigial limbs of an abandoned mythology, I don't know. The idea of Christianity still makes no sense to me. I still can't reconcile it with reality and thus couldn't really return to the flock even if I wanted to. But for the last few weeks, I just haven't been able to wash the hellfire from my mind.

The idea is so traumatically and deeply ingrained I fear I may never be able to fully shake it off. But as for the moment, I just want to regain my usual level of peace of mind.

I don't really have anyone to turn to in my personal relationships. My family is loving and supportive but very religious. Many of my close friends are Christian, and most others simply aren't comfortable talking about any of it. So I sought out a supportive community and found myself here.

Please, please, anything you can tell me or point me towards would be very helpful. I'm so tied up in knots about this I fear I may actually be a danger to myself right now.

Sincerely,
Ben


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lmao... NB, very subtle, very subtle!!!

Planting the fear of Hell in a child who will endure the pains of childhood on their way to adulthood should be considered abusive and controlling..

"end Human bankruptcy"an idea whose time has come

I have been there experienced this and the price paid is my aliveness.

Hey Ben,
It looks like you're getting lots of rational arguments against hell. That's nice, but if you're like me, that's not what you need so much. You already know there is no hell. The indoctrination runs deep and insidiously and it's not easy to break out. As someone else said, it's like being an ex-smoker. Love that analogy! I like to think I'm a pretty rational guy (if you don't count that 40 years that I was a Fundie!) and I know there is no hell. I stopped believing in hell even before I stopped believing in god. Yet in the dark times (I have dysthymia with major depression recurrent) I can still be plagued with the thoughts of eternal damnation, even 8 years later.

What concerns me most is you say you feel you're a danger to yourself. This is a serious thing you are going through, Ben. If you are bipolar, you cannot get through this on your own. I'm glad you're going to a recovering from religion group. I wish I had thought of that idea years ago. Instead, I've had to do some intensive therapy several times a week for several years. If you don't have a therapist, check out Dr. Darrel Ray's Therapist Project for tips to finding therapy without all the woo. His site is www.seculartherapy.org.

Please do keep checking in with us. If you feel you will hurt or kill yourself, please call your dr immediately to get on medication. If you're feelings are extreme in the middle of the night, get your ass to an emergency room and tell them what is happening.

Hang in there, brother. From experience, it does get better.
Think of living to be 100 years old. Now think of that lifespan as a grain of sand. Now think about how many grains of sand there are on all the beaches on the planet, and consider that that quantity of time still doesn't even register in comparison to the timeframe of "eternity", which is how long we are expected to believe heaven will last. Now picture the most perfect place you could ever vacation at, complete with servants, the finest foods, entertainment, where the best of everything is at your command, and think of that as heaven. I don't know about you, but even that scenario would eventually get tiresome, then monotonous, then repulsive, then maddening - because it is eternal and inescapable. So eventually, it doesn't matter whether you go to heaven or hell, they both would be hellish. It's a good thing that they're both bullshit lies.

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