Archives for the month of: October, 2013

I am feeling a lot of pressure inside to be quiet. My emotional intelligence is not very high. If I offend someone, I know the best way to restore harmony is to apologize for offending the other person and then be careful forever after what I say around them. 

Niceness is my main social currency. My main criteria for saying something is, “Is it agreeable to others?” If so, I can go ahead and say it. If not, I will wait until I am around like-minded people before saying it. I withhold pieces of myself, saying certain things to some people and not others. Other people will hear different things that I won’t say to some people. I have different friends who I express different sides of myself with. 

Authenticity is overrated in my world. It is a privilege that only the few can enjoy.

 

When I was eighteen, I got saved for the twenty-first time. I went to some Christian concert and they had an altar call. They said something I had never heard before; If you don’t repent, you are not saved. I had said the sinners’ prayer before, but I had never consciously turned away from my sins, whatever those were. (As a very sheltered teen, I spent almost all my time in school, church, and extracurricular activities, plus I had hours of homework every night. I did not have the time to get in trouble at all trivial.) 

Cue me freaking out about hellfire and dalmatians. I got saved (again), went back to my dorm room, and threw all my rock music down the trash chute across the hall. Three dozen cassette tapes got thrown away that night. A bit later, some lady came to our youth group and said if you were pro-choice, you weren’t Christian (and therefore, would burn forever and ever in hell). 

I had always been moderately Democratic in my political leanings, such as they were, but I now was forced to engage in doublethink to convince myself I was a Republican. I thought that being Christian meant I had to agree with whatever these people said and believed. I was young and not dumb, but my brain was numb with fear. All the morality plays and Puritan literature I had to read as an English major only made the religious mania worse.

The lid began to be unscrewed in my junior year of college, when my then-fiance and I interviewed L7 at Hammerjack’s. They put down Domino’s Pizza because they were anti-choice – and I found myself agreeing with them. The first doubts had been planted.

A year later, I was at an SCA party and tried to witness to a couple about being born again. To make a long story short, it completely backfired and I got deconverted from the whole born-again thing instead. 

The aftereffects of the indoctrination still bug me, eighteen years later. I only notice them when I am stressed. I spent most of this past summer convinced the Universe was going to punish me because I took too much pride in winning an award at work. My performance started to decline, and I took that as a signal that I was being punished for being proud of winning the award. I lived in terror that something horrible would happen because the Gods had appointed my employer as a divine authority over me and I was disappointing them by not pleasing my employer. (Don’t even ask where that one came from – I’m guessing something along the lines of obeying the civil authorities, since they are ordained by God). 

After two months of this, a friend recommended that I read Edmund Cohen’s The Mind of the Bible Believer. The book promises to explain how evangelicals tick and how the mind-control system works. 

I am about halfway through the book and it is very fascinating. I’ll be sharing insights I glean from the book, as well as other things I learn as I rip the toxic programming from my soul.