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Author Topic: What's Your Baggage? (Spin-off from Wonderbug's Mental Block)  (Read 12903 times)
WarHorse
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« Topic Start: May 10, 2008, 09:21:32 am »

Hello again.
I'm going through something I don't understand.
I'm researching slavic paganism and earth-based religions.
Something is blocking me from being my open-minded self and progressing.
I have paganism.ru open in another tab and as much as I'm surprised and pleased to discover it exists, it's like all of these aspects of my unconscious are tearing me apart. It's akin to reliving childhood nightmares and fears from long long ago. Things like Baba Yaga, illiterate country dwellers, and negative presumptions are ready to drown me. Of the modern Slavic pagans I get automatic mental images like dark soul-less eyes, secret underground meetings with people wearing dark hooded robes and chanting dark scary tunes with someone being sacrificed in the middle. It's scaring me, yet I know it's ridiculous.

How do I get through this?

I find the question - and the answers - very interesting.

But even more interesting was my response to it: I was raised Christian through high school, was born-again in college, and when it came time for me to find my own path, carried very little baggage, least of all images of hooded figures, etc & so on.

In fact, I find that I'm far enough out of that box now that I can't believe any intelligent person would stay in it.  My perspective has changed so much that anyone who claims to know the Mind of God through the reading of His Own Words, and then interpreting them in modern political lexicon, as though they could possibly understand what it was like to be a first-generation Christian in Jerusalem under Roman rule...I can't stand to be around them.  I turn off the CB, leave the room, whatever.

What is your baggage, or did you not bring any?

« Last Edit: May 10, 2008, 09:44:31 am by Star, Reason: Changing thread title. » Logged

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« Reply #1: May 10, 2008, 09:43:44 am »

What is your baggage, or did you not bring any?

I don't think I really had any to speak of.  I was raised in a pretty liberal church where open-mindedness was encouraged and there wasn't a lot of the big bad negative hellfire-and-damnation stuff.  My parting from it was amicable and although I disagreed with some of the church's teachings and maybe got a little angsty over some things, I was never really upset or angry or hurt or scarred or anything like that.  I actually feel like having the religious upbringing I did prepared me very well for making my own choices, even if they were not the choices my Sunday school teachers and pastors necessarily had in mind.

(I'm going to change the title of the thread to make it a little more specific, btw.  Easier to catch the eyes of people who would be interested that way.)
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« Reply #2: May 10, 2008, 10:19:11 am »

I actually feel like having the religious upbringing I did prepared me very well for making my own choices, even if they were not the choices my Sunday school teachers and pastors necessarily had in mind.

Ditto that.  Something I hadn't considered, though it seems pretty obvious now. Roll Eyes

(I'm going to change the title of the thread to make it a little more specific, btw.  Easier to catch the eyes of people who would be interested that way.)

Thank you. Smiley

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« Reply #3: May 10, 2008, 10:22:17 am »

I find the question - and the answers - very interesting.

But even more interesting was my response to it: I was raised Christian through high school, was born-again in college, and when it came time for me to find my own path, carried very little baggage, least of all images of hooded figures, etc & so on.

In fact, I find that I'm far enough out of that box now that I can't believe any intelligent person would stay in it.  My perspective has changed so much that anyone who claims to know the Mind of God through the reading of His Own Words, and then interpreting them in modern political lexicon, as though they could possibly understand what it was like to be a first-generation Christian in Jerusalem under Roman rule...I can't stand to be around them.  I turn off the CB, leave the room, whatever.

What is your baggage, or did you not bring any?



I was raised Catholic, went to Catholic school for a few years when I was very little.  My parents have always been very 'this is it, everything else is wrong or evil what-have-you'  My baggage is a combo of conflicting viewpoints.  I have, as a result (I feel) of how I was raised, and the dogma of the faith, become a bit anti-Christian, or at least, anti-Christianity.  I feel that many of their beliefs and concepts are just plain wrong, and I know I have to struggle with being somewhat prejudiced.
My other piece of baggage is I sometimes worry "What if they're right?"  which is scary beyond just going to Hell, which would be my preference anyway if it were one of only two choices, for the freedom and company if nothing else.
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« Reply #4: May 10, 2008, 11:14:09 am »

What is your baggage, or did you not bring any?

Most of my baggage has had to do with group and community issues, and that was from experiences *after* I became pagan.  But really, I've dealt with most of that now.

Most of my fears had to do with coming out of the closet, which has been a more gradual thing/non-issue.
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« Reply #5: May 10, 2008, 12:26:11 pm »

What is your baggage, or did you not bring any?

I didn't bring any. I was happy in church. I loved church; I loved the community of church. What I didn't care for is being told what I could and couldn't question. Also, in my late teens, even though I had known this all my life (I was raised by an OB nurse), it occurred to me that men cannot give birth and therefore could not have birthed the universe -- so I set off looking for "Mom". And I found her. Rather, she found me.
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« Reply #6: May 10, 2008, 12:31:37 pm »

What is your baggage, or did you not bring any?

Where would you like me to start?

Most of my baggage isn’t really religiously spawned, but it is certainly affecting my spiritual endeavors.

I’m terribly anxious. I have anxiety so bad, that I rarely travel anymore. I’m terrified that I might mess something up or run into someone I’d rather not meet. Even though when I started traveling it was the easiest thing in the world.
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« Reply #7: May 10, 2008, 02:02:39 pm »

What is your baggage, or did you not bring any?

Interesting question. While my church upbringing didn't have the "hellfire and damnation" song and dance, they did have a big guilt number. The churches I went to all emphasized God's immense love--and our undeserving bestowal of that love, and our complete worthlessness without him. Instead of being driven into the arms of God by fear, we were being driven into the arms of Him by a sense of obligation, guilt, and helplessness, in the hopes that by running to Him, He would always be there, and we would be worthy in the eyes of God (even though we were reminded weekly that we would never be worthy of God).

To sum up, He wasn't there for me, even when I ran to him. 

What I carried out of Christianity, at first, was a real sense anger, of betrayal, on behalf of Him who lives up there. He had betrayed me, abandoned me. Or had I abandoned Him? Truly, I wasn't even worthy for Him to answer me, so what worth then could I possibly have?

Before I made my official parting, I often felt as though I was the one betraying--that I was a bad person, that if only I ran back to Him, He would speak to me, turn to me, comfort me. He didn't. So I returned the favour and turned away from him. Sometimes, though, the guilt would return, and I would think, "I can still run to Him; He might answer me this time." But I never did. Someone who guilts or obligates me into loving them, placing them highest, robs me of my independence and my free will. No thanks.

That baggage is largely gone. What remains has more to do with my personal relationships with my family, still very much His. I still feel guilty for turning away, for lying to them, because I know that if they found out they would be very upset, to say the least, not to mention hurt, confused, and very worried. They'd probably react to my polytheism even more adversely than if I told them I was an atheist.

The funny thing is, now that I think about it, I don't think I ever once (in those early years) actually experienced a complete disbelief in God, or gods. I never went through the atheist stage. I went through the "silence of God" stage, but I never actually questioned the existence of gods anywhere, not even Him. He just wasn't talking to me. So, I just turned away from him and began searching for another.



So, I may have checked a bag or two (which may still be lost), but no real carry-ons.  Cool
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« Reply #8: May 10, 2008, 04:51:37 pm »

What is your baggage, or did you not bring any?

I was raised by a militant agnostic - I don't know, and neither do you.

Which means that every so often I run into a mental block of "not that I BELIEVE all this faith crap" type stuff.  I have a VERY hard time talking about it (as opposed to typing about it - not sure why there's a difference) and I'm rather afraid someone's going to look at it and go "oh.  FAITH crap".

I believe - but sometimes I have a very hard time accepting my own beliefs. Cheesy
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« Reply #9: May 10, 2008, 04:54:23 pm »

I believe - but sometimes I have a very hard time accepting my own beliefs. Cheesy

I think that's a normal part of the human condition.
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« Reply #10: May 10, 2008, 05:46:22 pm »

What is your baggage, or did you not bring any?

I brought very little in the way of negative religious baggage. I was raised in a liberal version of United Methodism, so it is hard for me to even imagine the negative baggage Christianity leaves some with. I really did not have any bad experiences with my Christian church, I just discovered as I grew into a teen in the late 1960s and early 1970s that Christianity did not call me and so started looking for something that did.

I have other baggage, however. Some pertinent examples: I have a distrust for authority if that authority is going to be telling me what deity wants me to do and think. If what I do and think is that important to some deity, I expect him or her to skip expecting me to trust some middleman and tell me directly. I have a dislike for large groups -- I'm very uncomfortable interacting with a large association of people as I find the politics of dealing with large organized groups annoying and very boring. I'm a private person, if religious activities involve sharing private details of my life with people beyond a few very close friends, I'm going to avoid those activities.
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« Reply #11: May 10, 2008, 08:47:47 pm »


And I thought I wouldn't get any replies. Cheesy

Such a wonderful spectrum of experience - thank you all for sharing.

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« Reply #12: May 10, 2008, 09:35:22 pm »

What is your baggage, or did you not bring any?

I guess my main baggage isn't necessarily religious: "Smart people don't believe in magic." If you think that running in a circle chanting or drawing symbols on little pieces of paper and burning them (or whatever) is going to make an ounce of difference, you're either an idiot, a weirdo, a freak, or are seriously deluding yourself... according to my parents and the rest of mainstream society.

And like Finn said, the idea that we owe God everything, that he loves us and does everything for us, and that you're ungrateful if you don't love God more than anything else made me feel guilty and terrible. It took me a bit to figure out I had nothing to be guilty about.

Another piece of baggage I have is the distinct feeling of being alone and an outsider. Everyone else at Church seemed to be so happy and seemed to talk to God all the time, and at least seemed to believe that God talked to them back. I felt that there must have been something wrong with me, because I was the only one I could see that wasn't called. I almost felt like I didn't really exist, because I never really was able to participate in anything and the most important entity that there ever was seemed to be ignoring me.
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« Reply #13: May 10, 2008, 10:11:33 pm »

And I thought I wouldn't get any replies. Cheesy

Oh piffle. Cheesy
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« Reply #14: May 10, 2008, 10:19:23 pm »

And I thought I wouldn't get any replies. Cheesy

On The Cauldron on an open-ended personal experience topic that almost every member has some experience with? Right.  Wink
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