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Author Topic: Birth religion 'closure'  (Read 6357 times)
treekisser
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« Topic Start: December 12, 2010, 03:52:08 am »

So. I have scraps of religious practice and some definite ideas of where I'd like to go and which paths I want to explore. But I feel like before I can go further, I need to know more about the religious background I'm leaving.

...just curious whether anyone here's felt the same.
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Waldfrau
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« Reply #1: December 12, 2010, 05:32:22 am »

So. I have scraps of religious practice and some definite ideas of where I'd like to go and which paths I want to explore. But I feel like before I can go further, I need to know more about the religious background I'm leaving.

...just curious whether anyone here's felt the same.
Not sure, I had the feeling my birth faith was holding me back and giving me a bad conscience about pursuing Paganism although I hadn't consciously believed in my birth religion for a while.

We were just talking about this kind of thing in a related thread. Wink

http://www.ecauldron.net/forum/index.php?topic=14767.0

For me it was a really important process to work through my birth faith (Roman Catholicism) and how it has affected me. My mother was raised in a Catholic orphanage and used hell-threats as a means of education so I had some major issues with some specific things. (I still don't like to go into a Catholic church even for tourist reasons much because the energy of it kinda grosses me out.) But I don't have a bad conscience about being pagan anymore.

What helped me really is talking about it, understanding the psychology behind how the way I was raised produces this 'I am bad'-feeling. I talked with friends, with people of various Christian denominations and with a counselor. Seeing my birth faith from many different perspectives really helped a lot.

I also did various ritualistic/magical stuff to cut the thread to my old faith. This really helped a lot.

I really felt threatened by my birth religion. It didn't accomplish much to put that off as irrationality. It helped a lot to take my (however childish) feelings about Catholicism seriously and put up protections against it. I also destroyed a Catholic symbol in a ritual. I know that's something you don't 'normally' do, but I so needed this.

This really took time, but got better gradually. I hope your process isn't as 'extreme', but if it is, it's the easiest thing to just accept what you need. Smiley
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« Reply #2: December 12, 2010, 09:55:21 am »

So. I have scraps of religious practice and some definite ideas of where I'd like to go and which paths I want to explore. But I feel like before I can go further, I need to know more about the religious background I'm leaving.

...just curious whether anyone here's felt the same.

I find that I'm able to reconcile now a lot of things in Christianity that made me leave, but when I did leave (around the 10th grade) I didn't look back. Too many painful memories, too much fear that my fear of hell would suck me back into the mindset when I'd just found freedom.

I think it's good of you to want to educate yourself, though. Smiley I've been delving into Catholicism lately and am delighted to see what (in my eyes, which come from a Baptist/Presbyterian background) are some really Paganesque currents in the religion. So you never know what you might find that will be helpful to you on your journey.
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« Reply #3: December 12, 2010, 07:46:45 pm »

For me it was a really important process to work through my birth faith (Roman Catholicism) and how it has affected me. My mother was raised in a Catholic orphanage and used hell-threats as a means of education so I had some major issues with some specific things.

Thanks for sharing.  Smiley I've just looked at the other thread as well. I'm pretty lucky in that I've never really felt fear or guilt about my religious inclinations (only doses of fluffiness). So I'm not sure what it is exactly that's giving me the itch to find out more about the JCI side of things. Maybe it's a need to feel like I've covered all my bases. Hmmmm.
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« Reply #4: December 12, 2010, 07:49:09 pm »

So you never know what you might find that will be helpful to you on your journey.

This is partly it, I think. It doesn't really make sense to start from scratch somewhere else and overlook stuff I'm more familiar with.

Or...maybe it's just procrastination. I'm pretty good at that when it comes to important things.  Undecided

Could I ask what got you into exploring Catholicism?
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« Reply #5: December 12, 2010, 07:56:35 pm »

Thanks for sharing.  Smiley I've just looked at the other thread as well. I'm pretty lucky in that I've never really felt fear or guilt about my religious inclinations (only doses of fluffiness). So I'm not sure what it is exactly that's giving me the itch to find out more about the JCI side of things. Maybe it's a need to feel like I've covered all my bases. Hmmmm.
I'd recommend reading A History of God by Karen Armstrong.  Her books are amazing, and this book in particular gives a great overview of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
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« Reply #6: December 12, 2010, 11:47:47 pm »

I'd recommend reading A History of God by Karen Armstrong.  Her books are amazing, and this book in particular gives a great overview of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Just popping in because this caught my eye, but as I recall our resident Christian theologist (Koi) was not particularly impressed by that book when I brought it up ages ago. I'll dig around tomorrow and see if I can find her commentary. (I enjoyed it, though I am not much of a scholar, and certainly no expert on any of the three religions.)
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« Reply #7: December 13, 2010, 11:24:48 pm »


Disregard this! I found the comment I was thinking of (though not in the thread I was thinking of) and all she said was that Armstrong tends to simplify for mass-market books. Three cheers for a crap memory! Roll Eyes
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Waldfrau
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« Reply #8: December 14, 2010, 07:44:11 am »

So I'm not sure what it is exactly that's giving me the itch to find out more about the JCI side of things. Maybe it's a need to feel like I've covered all my bases. Hmmmm.
Maybe it's like looking through an old flat again before you leave for ever to make sure you haven't forgotten anything? Or you need to make sure leaving is right or that you're leaving with the right motives?

On the book side of things:
I've read a short one by Jan Assman about 'Monotheismus und die Sprache der Gewalt' ('monotheism and the language of violence') which was really interesting. It is a script of a German lecture in Vienna - I can't find an English translation.

But there are many other fascinating books by Assmann which give a perspective into the development of the JCI religion you don't get with every book because Assmann goes into a lot of interdependencies between politics and religion. But from what I have read by him his books are very specific and not so much overview-books - at least not on JCI religions because his main subject is egyptology.

I'm sure Koi could name some good titles, but I haven't seen her around for a while.
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« Reply #9: December 14, 2010, 10:20:57 am »

So. I have scraps of religious practice and some definite ideas of where I'd like to go and which paths I want to explore. But I feel like before I can go further, I need to know more about the religious background I'm leaving.

...just curious whether anyone here's felt the same.

So, you think you should give it one last try?
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« Reply #10: December 14, 2010, 01:47:18 pm »

Disregard this! I found the comment I was thinking of (though not in the thread I was thinking of) and all she said was that Armstrong tends to simplify for mass-market books. Three cheers for a crap memory! Roll Eyes
No problem.  I like her books in general, but I'm no theologian.  Wink
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« Reply #11: December 14, 2010, 04:22:36 pm »

So. I have scraps of religious practice and some definite ideas of where I'd like to go and which paths I want to explore. But I feel like before I can go further, I need to know more about the religious background I'm leaving.

...just curious whether anyone here's felt the same.

I felt very much the same.

My upbringing was a very strict no-drinkin' and no-gamblin' and no-dancin' Baptist one.  I rejected it for many reasons when I was younger, and rejected it in anger.  This is not to say my anger at it was invalid, but it hindered me in my future journey.  I could articulate no reason for it, other than "They honked me off."

I blocked it out and walled it off, and ultimately I realized what a disservice I did myself.  Everything, my friend, that touches you, good or ill, forges you.  It is the fire, and hammer, and anvil of your soul.  I came to realize that if I did not have that as part of my life's lessons, I would be another person, and maybe not necessarily for the better.  If I had never been forced to confront what was in myself, and gain the courage to deny it power over me ... well, who is to say that I ever would have learned that lesson?  A gentler faith in my youth may have been easier to bear, and perhaps I would have never set out on the path to something else, and just been comfortable where I was?

I am twenty years and a few months of change away from coming to terms with my past, but when I dfinally did, I was able to let go of the anger, and to be able to say, rationally, "These are the reasons I weighed that, and measured it, and found it wanting."  It took me almost fifteen years of that, walking around with a cloud of fury and resentment, to get to that moment, and it made things harder than it had to be.

Wisdom is being whispered in your ears by whatever has placed that urge there.  Be still, and heed it.
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« Reply #12: December 14, 2010, 09:52:17 pm »

Disregard this! I found the comment I was thinking of (though not in the thread I was thinking of) and all she said was that Armstrong tends to simplify for mass-market books.

Ah thanks - I had the same impression from scanning the bibliography in her book on myths, which cited lots of Frazer and Campbell and little of anyone...alive.
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« Reply #13: December 14, 2010, 10:02:35 pm »

So, you think you should give it one last try?

No - I want to read up, not try out. Which is what I find slightly strange, since the latter is more understandable.
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« Reply #14: December 14, 2010, 10:38:41 pm »

Maybe it's like looking through an old flat again before you leave for ever to make sure you haven't forgotten anything? Or you need to make sure leaving is right or that you're leaving with the right motives?

It's more like the first example, because I know the leaving's right. Curious about the Assmann books you mentioned (since I'm particularly interested in AE). Any titles which evaluate AE monotheism against JCI?
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