Why The Church Lost My Daughter

This article came over on my Facebook feed today. It talks about why millennials are leaving the church. It says in essence that most of the people in my age group or younger are leaving the church because religion has taken on more of a political stance than a faith stance. Instead of teaching their followers to love thy neighbor, they are teaching their followers to ‘hate the sin”. Instead of teaching their followers to have compassion for the whore, they are teaching their followers to condemn and judge, when that is only God’s job according to the Bible.

Of course, we are also leaving the church because we feel like there is a strict line between faith and science and we can’t have both. We can’t ask questions. We can’t be curious. We can’t have doubt. So, basically, instead of feeling bad for having doubt, I just decided that my doubt must be real and it just doesn’t exist.

I’ve felt the after effects of being a loyal church goer and follower of Jesus. I’ve felt the aftermath of leaving the church and suddenly feeling lost and confused. Of course, the followers of the church would say the lost feeling is because you don’t have Jesus in your life anymore and you are feeling it.

Instead, I say, I felt the aftermath of brainwashing. My brain and body was programmed from a very young age how to act, feel, and think. When I rebelled against that, my body went into shock. That’s an emotional response. That’s a physical response. It’s a psychological  response to my damaged brain finally taking control. It’s a kind of battle that will stay forever in my mind. that back and forth kind of battle. So far, I’m winning the war, but the battles … that pit in your stomach. That heavy feeling in your chest. The battle of wills in your mind. All part of the deprogramming of the mind when it comes to any kind of mind control. The church is a great example of mind control.

When you teach a child from the beginning that they are not to ask questions, just have faith. When you teach a child that they only need to trust in the leaders of the church, no need to trust in their own thought. When you teach a child the only way to be ‘saved’ is to follow the teachings and use guilt and fear to make them behave and think a certain way.

Like it or not, this is brainwashing. This mind control. In the end, it doesn’t matter what the beliefs of the church really are, whether they follow the Bible or not. The Bible is the excuse, the ‘teachings of Jesus” are the front for what is real. Church leaders only need to use mind control tactics to make you believe whatever they want. To make you act however they want. By the time they have all the pieces in place, they can tell you that God is going to change the sky from blue to cotton candy pink and if they do their job right, you believe them. You can’t possibly wait for the “miracle”

It’s kind of like when people blame the gays for hurricanes and natural disasters. Yes. God did that. Because of the gays. That’s compassion right there. And how may Christians actually believe this nonsense?  You’d be surprised.

How many church goers use the Bible as their tool, but they don’t really follow the teachings of Jesus that is written plainly in the black and white text?

THIS is why the church has lost my daughter. I refuse to subject her to the mind control of the church. I refuse to let her go through the withdrawal symptoms of mind control. I am seeing an increase of parents in my age group who feel the same way. We are thinking more about teaching our kids to think for themselves and release their kids from the idea of attaching their feelings to a belief in God or church.

I know for me, it’s not worth it to scar Punky with the inevitable. She will be told her parents are not natural, she will be told that she doesn’t have a legit family. I am not about to allow her to be subject to something as damaging as that. Her moms love her just as much as any family headed by a mom and dad. The kinds of thoughts that are taught and embedded in a child’s brain are not something I care to have in my daughter’s head.

We can teach our children morals without any form of church or God to be associated with. Children are taught to believe in something. Children are taught to think how their parents believe. Children are hardwired to please adults. I will not take advantage of her tiny mind. I will not subject her to any of the mind games that we adults play. I will let her question thing. I will let her be curious.

I don’t want topics to be taboo. I don’t want her feelings to be taboo. I don’t want her to be ashamed. I don’t want her to feel guilty for the way she thinks or who she wants to be. Which is why – unlike the church – I will teach her free will. In the Bible, it is taught that God created us with free will. To try and take away a person’s free will is completely backwards.

So instead of focusing on politics and agendas, both sides of the religious debate could learn from each other. Partner with each other. Instead of playing head games and a battle of wills, come together and put differences aside and work on what is important – compassion, love, and kindness to all human beings as we are all the same on the inside.

This is what I’m teaching my daughter, what about you? Regardless of your religious preferences, I promise to teach my kid to treat your children with respect and dignity. If we can all promise to teach the new generation of children to love thy neighbor and withhold judgement when possible, we can achieve a better world.

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Hope you had a great weekend and to those with cycles up in the air, good luck and good vibes are being sent from us to you! ❤

The Guilt of a Newly-Minted None

The foundation of being a moral person has always been about believing in God and following the teachings of the church. If you don’t follow the path Jesus walked, you are likely a heathen or a pagan or the unworthy of Heaven. Or, if you don’t follow Jesus and the teachings of the Bible, you are just lost and possibly weird, on the fringes of society and destined to be an outcast.

Heaven has always been the goal that we strive for in life. Be a good person, doing things in the name of Jesus and you will achieve your rewards in Heaven. We are told in order to go to Heaven you must be a good person. In order to be a good person, you must follow Jesus.

What if you don’t believe Heaven is the ultimate goal any longer? Can you still be a good person? Can you teach your children to be good citizens of society without using Heaven as the end goal? Can people be moral and decent human beings without getting anything in return?

I believe you can be a good person without the foundation of religion. However, as a woman who has grown up with the church and the teachings of the Christian religion, it is something that is hard to rectify in my brain. It has been so ingrained in my heart and soul that you can only be a good person if you follow Jesus. If you do what Jesus and God decree as correct and proper.

I have spent the last 29 years of my life thinking that God was the only way. That Heaven was the end goal. The only other option is eternal damnation. If you aren’t following God, you aren’t a good person, so you can’t go to Heaven, and therefore, you will burn in Hell.

Hell certainly doesn’t sound like a nice place to end up. When you look at the descriptions of Heaven and Hell in the teachings of the church, who doesn’t want to say they believe in God and hope that they will get to go to Heaven. By taking the belief of Jesus and Christianity on faith alone, it is supposed to safeguard them from the eternal damnation of Hell. Who wouldn’t want to do that?

Let’s not forget that Heaven is also a better alternative to ceasing to exist. When you die, you just are no more. I never really liked the idea of that happening either. So, what was the purpose of life? What was the goal? The end game? Ceasing to exist seems exponentially as harsh a fate as Hell.

So to alleviate either ‘negative’ outcomes at death, if we believe in God and the teachings of the church  or death will end much more pleasantly. I am sure I am not alone in this thought process. I am beginning to think this is how people get caught up in the beliefs and the church.

Looking back at this, the description of Heaven and Hell is more propaganda and fear tactics. If you don’t do what we tell you to do, you will be punished. If you do exactly what we tell you to do, you will be rewarded. Don’t question or you go to Hell. Don’t miss church or you go to Hell. Don’t forget to pray at supper or you might go to Hell. Don’t support gay people or you will go to Hell. Don’t be friends with Pagans or they will bring you straight to Hell with them.

A lot of fear goes into the foundation of religion. A lot of fear and ultimatums.  Fear and ultimatums lead to guilt. Guilt about doing things just right. Making sure you are following the faith perfectly. What if you slip up? You can be forgiven, but the people of the church may look down on you. You will be given a big heaping spoonful of guilt.

Like my previous post about Cults and Churches, the fear and the ultimatums and ultimately the guilt is what keeps a member of a church or a cult in line. It keeps the person feeling like they are a bad person if they don’t go along, if they don’t follow. The guilt can be enough to hold a person under the church or cult’s thumb for years and it is a form of brainwashing.

I came across this blog post recently and it made me think. The points are valid. How come our particular religion can be believed on faith, but someone else’s religion is clearly not correct. It’s not right and thus a fairy tale. All the creation tales in each different religion are similar yet, once you latch on to the one you like, it’s the only one. It’s the one that is supreme.

You can deny all others as false and ‘fairy tale’ but the one that you follow may sound similar, but it’s the only true one. You have reasons and rationale why. The brain has made connections on this that will allow you to believe that it is real. Why do you have all these answers? Because the fear and ultimatums and the guilt that goes with the teachings have given you all the answers you need to make sure you are properly educated in what to say and think. IE. Brainwashing.

Then comes a time when you doubt it. What if you doubt what you have always been told? What if you take a logical look at the things you have always believed and you put rational thought behind it? The guilt settles in.

What if I’m wrong? I am a terrible person for not believing. I should just have faith. God calls me to believe in the face of doubt. I cannot trust my own flawed judgment. I just need to put my faith in Him. Just follow the leaders of the church, they are the ones who have more knowledge than I do. I have to teach my child to believe as I have; otherwise she will go to Hell. Hell is a bad place. What if Hell does in fact exist? If you don’t teach your child about God, they will never be saved and you have condemned your child to a fate worse than death. If you don’t get your kid baptized, they will be eternally lost in the pits of Hell.

These are the thoughts that I still grapple with. I am beginning to realize that I am in fact an Atheist. I have tried to cling to the label of the lesser evil in society of Agnostic, that of someone who is spiritual and who is not sure what they believe. But, I do know what I believe. In my heart of hearts, I know that there is no such thing – there is no validity to the stories I have grown up with. I know in my rational mind that I don’t want to be putting my kid through the same fear and guilt that I am currently trying to dig myself out of.

I hold tight to the lesser label, a label that doesn’t really bring me peace of mind either, because it is less harsh than the reality. The finality of the whole concept. It lessens my guilt. It lessens the doubt in my doubt and the uncertainty. I am coming to terms with the fact that I was in fact brainwashed and I was conditioned with fear tactics and guilt to believe in something that can’t possibly be real.

It makes no sense to me now. I am trying to figure out why the concept of God and Jesus made sense to me before. A flowery story about a man who died for me and forgives me of all my sins. A story of redemption and of love and kindness. It made sense because it was about the good in people. It was about the rewards for being a good person. It was about being a part of something.

How come we can’t teach our kids to forgive our fellow human beings for their misgivings and their shortcomings. Can’t we teach our kids to be kind and loving to all those they come in contact with? Why does the basis of morals and the difference between right and wrong have to be set in the foundation of a religion?

Instead of guilt, I hope to give the facts. I hope to give the theories and the stories. As I learn more of the different stories and the different culture theories of how the world came to be, I hope I can pass on the questioning nature I have grown to possess and leave the guilt out of my daughter’s heart.