Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Post-Religious Stress Disorder

When returning from Iraq in 2005 I was diagnosed with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). As I've gone through the different treatments from psychologists, support groups, medication, self-medication, etc., I've managed to develop a handle on my condition. To compound the issue, war was the place I started to end the self-deception of faith in my life. What I realized was I truly didn't believe... I wanted to, and in a sense I still want to, but I didn't and don't. If I was interested in truth, honestly, then I would have to follow the evidence, wherever that leads.

I have done a lot of reading sense then in science, biology, cosmology, etc. in trying to figure out what the truth is for me. I am a fan of many YouTube atheists and free thinkers as well as believers (multiple faiths) and listen to the arguments believers have with non-believers, reading blogs and their comments. One theme I've noticed is the wondering why believers can't see what we see so I am going to offer up my perspective.

Guilt is an overwhelming theme for the body of Christ. They preach it hard core, mixed with fear; those are always the best sermons I gave. You are a sinner, you deserve death, you nailed Jesus to the cross, you break his heart every time you sin, and you are going to Hell. It sounds harsh right? Never underestimate the sugar on top, that’s right, forgiveness, it’s already there for you, just reach out and take it. Even though you break Jesus’ heart, he still forgives you, loves you, and wants you to live with him in paradise. It is an emotional rollercoaster of guilt, fear, and forgiveness that is intoxicating and instilled in us from the get go. It is a hard habit to break, the comradery of the sinning saints.

PRSD (Post-Religious Stress Disorder) this is how I see it in my life. There was and is anxiety for leaving what I believed, studied, and lived for 25 years of my life. I had to go through the guilt of condemning my loved ones who have passed away to death, no afterlife, no streets of gold and no eternity. I had to go through the anger of being lied to by people I love and respect. I had, and still do, go through the pain of losing friends and family who see me as fallen or forsaken. Mostly I have to deal with the anger at myself to being duped into remaining uneducated, and ignorant to what the world and universe really are. I have to deal with the responsibility that I lied to kids, and taught them the same things, duped them into feeling guilt and fear for their lives.

Christians, for the most part, are good, caring, and honest people. They are charitable and giving. They are smart, logical and well educated in what they’ve been taught to be important. But they have baggage, lots of it. And when you wonder why they don’t see what you see, it’s because it’s hard to. You aren’t asking them to simply educate themselves, you’re asking them to destroy who they think they are, who their parents and grandparents are. You are asking them to accept their lives are a lie. Let’s be honest, how easily could you do that?

Luke 6:31 “Do unto other as you would have them do unto you” seems applicable here.

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