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#186603 - 10/11/07 08:41 PM The God Question
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
OK, many of you have talked about God all over the boards at different times and I’ve read everything with great interest. You’ve actually taught me more than years and years of going to church and CCD classes ever did. Thank you for that. The difference is that I see it as a intellectual exercise rather than one of faith. I waffle between believing in a higher being and just not. It’s odd, even to me but I’ll work it out sooner or later and it doesn’t really bother me.

The issue I have is with my b/f. We’ve talked about religion, but only in either a very light, “not for us” kinda of way or in a very dark way. You see, his parental units - the abusers - were very religious. They dressed themselves and their 6 children in their Sunday finest every week and paraded them before the community as the perfect family. My b/f was an alter boy for years, elevating to head alter boy before he was finally able to escape the family. At that point, he left the church too. He hasn’t come out and said so specifically, but from some of the things he’s said, I think he told someone in the church at least something of what was going on at home - he was not believed. When he was 15, had been declared emancipated by the court because of the abuse at home, was living in his car and scraping together $2 a day so he could eat, no one in the church he had served as a child offered a hand.

After all of that and more I’m sure, how do you tell such a person that there really is a God? How does a questionable believer such as myself even have such a discussion? Or maybe I should just let well enough alone.

Trish

_________________________
If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

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#186645 - 10/12/07 12:07 AM Re: The God Question [Re: Trish4850]
EGL Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 7821
Hi Trish,

I'll take a try at this. First off, I can understand very well why your boyfriend has a lot of indifference towards religion - it sounds like he received all the wrong messages about it when he was growing up. And obviously his parents weren't practicing what they were play-acting to the rest of the church community. I think that's one of the greatest losses between a child and his parents - not sharing a genuine spirituality together. It's one of the deepest wounds I have from my own parents, in that we never attended church after I was about 5, and we never discussed religion in our home. So I feel like I missed out on something that should have been central to our home. Luckily, I found that path myself in my 20s.

Some of the most meaningful conversations I have ever had with my wife and daughters have been when we have been discussing God. God is so much more than a religion, a building, or a day of the week. To me, he is so central to my core as a person that I can't imagine not having him as part of my life.

Larry said it well here once when he said that when God sees us hurting, he sends us people. I believe that, as I have seen it so much in my own life when there were people there that helped me along the way. I'm sure there have been some of those types of people in your own life, and your boyfriend's as well. Perhaps that would be a starting point, to talk about those kinds of people. Do they really just seem random? Or could it be that a higher power causes them to come into our paths at just the right moment in our lives when we need them most? I think it would give him something to think on.

_________________________
Eddie

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#186646 - 10/12/07 12:16 AM Re: The God Question [Re: EGL]
ak Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/10/04
Posts: 1491
Trish,

I have a friend, who is similar to your boyfriend, I think. Both his parents gone to church every week, then come home and abuse their children. That is not what God or church or religion should be about.

To me, I believe in God because, well, it is just something I always done. My family go to church, and they also act as good people should do. We believe in being good people, not because just it is what God would want, but because we believe it is just the way to be.

I believe in God because when I speak to 'him', I feel heard. I am not sure how else to explain, why it is I feel what I believe is true. I do not tell to other people they must beleive same as me, because it is not my right to do that. Everyone have the right to their own beliefs and feelings on it for themselfs. Some people, it will be their faith can give to them hope and good feelings. For others, it is stupid and silly to have such kind of faith. What is right for me is not right for another. I accept that.

That is best I can say it right now I think.

andrei


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#186658 - 10/12/07 02:52 AM Re: The God Question [Re: ak]
pietie Offline
Guest

Registered: 01/23/07
Posts: 326
Loc: South Africa
Trish

Yes it is difficult. I came out of a very traditional home as well as church. We had to be suited and tied every sunday even when it was so hot you could not breathe.

One of my abusers was from church. He was a so called councillor and I believed every word he said to me. The councilling turned out to be a hoax as I did everything he wanted me too, even supported him financially. In the end it was nothing more than a gay relationship (even though it was sexually abusive as well). It took me a long time to get over it. I did not want to go to church anymore, I did not trust anybody in church. For 5 years I guess I can count the number of times we went to church (I got married in the middle of this phase).

There is one thing I want to highlight here. There is a difference between spirituality and religion. I see myself as a spiritual person. yes I am a christian but I do not want to link myself to any religuous institution (church). I would rather be simply called a child of God. Over here some of the first questions when you meet people is "so which church are you attending?". That does not matter. One day God is going to ask me one question "Did you accept me as your God?". Not to which church I went, not how often I went there, simply, are you My child?

By no means am I saying I do not want to go to church. I am very involved in the church I am attending, but the church is there to offer support to us by means of other people. I always tell my friends that the best quality time you can spend with God is alone because that is where you get to really know Him. The rest is there for support and teaching.

Sorry, this got longer than anticipated.

_________________________
Not Perfect, just forgiven

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#186679 - 10/12/07 09:15 AM Re: The God Question [Re: pietie]
kayak Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/01/06
Posts: 22
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Trish,

Great topic. I too, was born-and-raised front-row catholic, and educated in catholic grade school. Alter boy, etc. This blind trust (faith??) in the church directly contributed to my abuse at the hands of two priests.

Adding a spiritual dimension to sexual abuse adds its own wicked perversion as "god" so often "blesses" the union between man and boy.

....or so our perps would have us believe....

Hearing you describe your b/f's childhood, I would bet my bottom dollar that clergy or a church layman was abusing your b/f also. Probably when he went to seek help regarding his family life. That is such a typical MO of clergy abusers; abuse them when they are so young and vulnerable and in the midst of domestic crisis. Too many similar symptoms heard tell from too many SNAP (snapnetwork.org) survivors. If this is true, it describes perfectly his total rejection of everything spiritual in his life. He turned to the church for help and guidance and got the opposite. Even if he was not sexually abused as I suspect, he got rejected by them over his split with his family. Talk about trust issues!

In my case, the contradiction between church on Sundays, the sacraments, etc. and the wickedness I experienced in the master bedroom of the rectory led me to reject completely the lifelong brainwash of the catholic church. In my opinion, catholicism is a cult religion. Oh, don't get me started on that subject!

It took me about 15 years to finally rectify the spiritual vacancy, and I wouldn't have been able to continue ignoring it forever. Tried many vices to fill the void; nothing worked except God himself. In that lies hope for your b/f. I found the perfect truth of the Word of God as a result of my abuse at the hands of catholic priests, and for that I am grateful. God will not let us wander alone forever; He so longs for us to return to Him that he will continue pricking our conscience until we seek Him again; often from the bottom of the pit of despair. It sounds as if you are just a bit further along this path of discovery as you open-mindedly ask the questions that are still too painful for him to discuss.

EGL's second and third paragraph above perfectly describe the love of God, expressed through his Son Jesus. We are God's ministering hands here on earth. This MS community is a perfect example of how God takes something ghastly and turns it into something godly. Folks ministering to other folks with love and support, 'cause in God's economy we get ministered to while we are engaged in the act of ministering to others. PieTie also nailed it in his comments; what it means to be a true believer in God and not just a member of a religion.

Sorry, I don't want to preach. This is a subject of which I have some very strong opinions, mainly because of how powerfully God has delivered me from my pitiful circumstances.....

My recommendation to your dilemna is, of course, found in the Owner's Manual: 'seek and you shall find' Matthew 7:7-8 and your b/f will marvel at the change in you, and will become thirsty once again.

As roadrunner says:

Much love,
Kayak


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#186693 - 10/12/07 10:19 AM Re: The God Question [Re: kayak]
Jarrad Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/27/06
Posts: 1071
Loc: arizona
church and god arent the same thing.


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#186694 - 10/12/07 10:21 AM Re: The God Question [Re: Trish4850]
kellygtx Offline
Guest

Registered: 07/11/07
Posts: 412
Loc: Texas, USA
Trish -

Wow - this is such a great thread and a difficult topic. I was raised a Catholic but in my recovery I seriously began to doubt and wonder what God was to me and what religiosity really ment to me. No one can make the journey of discovery for you or your boyfriend - as no one could make it for me. I don't assume I know all the answers - or that all the answers are in the Bible, the Koran, or the Torah. And while I don't have all the answers or even know what all questions to ask, there are some great guides out there. Here are a few:

My Life With God In And Out Of The Church by Raymond Fontaine

Starting with his youth and his strong family and their ardently held Catholic religious beliefs, the book takes you on Ray's journey through his religious training which ended in his ordination as a Catholic Priest. His honest questioning of the dogma of the Bible and the Roman Catholic Church, and his wrestling with profound questions and issues, some of which are unique to Roman Catholic Priests, and many that all of us must deal with, brings us to answers that will benefit people who place a high value on sincerity and reality. He deals with issues such as life, death, sex, marriage, revelation, and much more in a manner that is in tune with our God-given reason. It's extremely refreshing!

The Spirituality of Imperfection by Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketchum

Kurts & Ketchum find the essence of the spiritual in human imperfections and failure, in the inevitability of pain. Spirituality is not the evasion of consequences or errors, but rather learning how to live with them. They call trying to be perfect the most tragic human mistake. They are clear, spirituality is found in asking the right questions, not in finding the right answers.

The Dragon Does Not Live Here Anymore - Living Fully and Loving Freely by Alan Cohen

There is an intimacy in Alan's books that mingles with humor and spiritual healing. It seems that when I'm feeling sad, Alan's books either make me laugh or help me to release my negative emotions in tears. So, either way, the reading of The Dragon Doesn't Live Here Anymore helped me fight off a few angry invisible dragons. There are nice dragons too, I think. Those are the dragons that love to fly across the October moon and enjoy seeing their shadow floating across lakes.



Edited by kellygtx (10/12/07 02:38 PM)
_________________________
I bid you Peace.

Kelly

The time is always NOW. Breath In. Breath Out. Move On.

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#186841 - 10/12/07 10:45 PM Re: The God Question [Re: kellygtx]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
Thanks guys. I too believe that a belief in God and a sense of spirituality do not have to equal church. If the building was nothing more than that, a building, for people to congregate and share their ideas of God I'd be OK. Unfortunately it's not that, yet it is what anyone raised with any religious belief first comes in contact with - a church. I don't like organized religion. The mission of organized religion seems to be to convince everyone that their's is the only one and everyone else is going to hell; I can't reconcile that in my mind so therefore I reject all of it and have my own conversations with God - they're infrequent to be sure, but when I think about it, it's a solitary exercise.

Maybe that's the conversation that we'll have one day.

Trish

_________________________
If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

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#186846 - 10/12/07 10:57 PM Re: The God Question [Re: Trish4850]
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16264
Originally Posted By: Jarrad
church and god arent the same thing.

A greater truth has never been spoken.

_________________________
“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy ____…! What a ride!’” ~Hunter S. Thompson

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#186896 - 10/13/07 09:27 AM Re: The God Question [Re: pietie]
savemyfam Offline
Guest

Registered: 07/17/07
Posts: 144
Loc: Chicago
Originally Posted By: pietie
Trish

I would rather be simply called a child of God. Over here some of the first questions when you meet people is "so which church are you attending?". That does not matter. One day God is going to ask me one question "Did you accept me as your God?". Not to which church I went, not how often I went there, simply, are you My child?



I love that answer pietie!!!! I personally look at God in a very simple way, I could not give you quotes from the bible or have a deep discussion with anyone about God because my relationship with God is very simple and uncomplicated. I too am simply a child of God.

Trish - you are a deep, analytical thinker, which is why you are so valuable to so many of us here in this community. With that being said, I think that makes it harder for you to look at spirituality on a simple level. I am not a deep thinker, there are not many levels to me and because of that I really never "got it" with religous teaching. It was way too complicated for me.

I was raised Catholic and went to Catholic schools, I am also from an Irish Catholic family which means that those two things shall always remain together. You are not just of Irish heritage, you are Irish Catholic - in fact my grandfather left Belfast, Ireland and came to the States so that he could openly be Catholic and not be killed because of it. So this is how deeply ingrained the Catholic religion was in my life. But I never got it.

It wasn't until I finally gave in and attended church with a christian friend of mine that I finally got it. It was very simple. I am a child of God and he loves me unconditionaly because I am his child. I started to hear Gods words and teachings from the bible and thank God we have a wonderful pastor that teaches as if he's sitting on your couch talking only to you.

So I guess what I'm saying to you Trish my friend is try to not look at God on a deep, analytical level - try to be simple minded like me :).

One of my favorite preachers is Joel Osteen, he's going to be on 60 Minutes this Sunday - try to watch if you can. I like him because he "keeps it simple" and also teaches in a very positive way.

XOXOXOXO
Angie

****** Discalimer******* I have nothing against the Catholic church or faith.

_________________________
God has a plan for me, I trust in God's plan.

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#186899 - 10/13/07 10:14 AM Re: The God Question [Re: savemyfam]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
Hey Angie,

Deep and analytical, huh *lol* I know alot of people who would challenge that assessment *rflmao* But you're right in that in order to truly believe in God, alot has to be put the side so that faith can simply take a front seat.

I too was born and raised Irish Catholic - the church played a huge role in my family growing up and maybe it was just my parish, but me and the Catholic church seem to have been doomed from the start. You see, I am adopted which I think is fabulous, but the jerk who was in charge of my church when I was born thought that was a problem, so I was not baptized in the church, being a bastard and all. Rather, it was a kindly priest who was friends with my father who agreed to do the baptism in the basement of the rectory. I have nothing but kind thoughts of this priest, but the church, well - I've got issues. There were several instances over the years with my local parish that turned me away, but that was the start.

I'll do some more thinking on this though, I promise. I've actually not thought so much about it for many years until I started reading here.

ROCK ON..........Trish

_________________________
If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

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#186901 - 10/13/07 10:33 AM Re: The God Question [Re: Trish4850]
savemyfam Offline
Guest

Registered: 07/17/07
Posts: 144
Loc: Chicago
I too had things happen in the parish and had issues with the church for a long time. Bottom line is that they are just people, no different from me. What struck me as I got older is through all of my years in my Catholic education, I never opened a bible. It was when I started to hear teachings from the bible that it all became clear to me. And it really is all very simple.

And by the way, don't ever change your deep, analytical thinking!!!! Us one layered people really need multi layered people like you!!!!

XOXOXO
Angie

_________________________
God has a plan for me, I trust in God's plan.

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#190475 - 11/08/07 04:58 PM Re: The God Question [Re: Trish4850]
thesun3 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/06/07
Posts: 49
Hello All:
There are so many examples of God's apparent absence. However, when I look back and see the faces of those who were there for me after the abuses...there's no doubt that God answered some of my prayers and then some. People I "happen" to bump into in Graduate School(I still don't know how I finished), at church retreats, on the job, and now, on this site, that willingly provided freindship and guidance.
No doubt, I question the ability of organized religion, the so called "institutional church" to provide the true nature of God, nevertheless, there are some trusted people who have demonstrated kindness and love.

_________________________
In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.
Camus

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#190511 - 11/08/07 08:39 PM Re: The God Question [Re: thesun3]
Coach Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/05/07
Posts: 28
Loc: California
Afflictions are the cause of eternal glory. Not the meritorious cause, but still the procuring cause. God has seen fit to reveal his purpose not only to reward with exceeding joy the afflictions of his people, but to make those afflictions the means of working out that joy.

Charles Hodge

Carpe Joy


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#190569 - 11/09/07 07:20 AM Re: The God Question [Re: Coach]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
Coach,

I don't understand that quote at all.

Trish

_________________________
If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

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#190584 - 11/09/07 10:25 AM Re: The God Question [Re: Trish4850]
thesun3 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/06/07
Posts: 49
WOW! I love that avatar...what a cute yet profound image!
I'm working on aquiring a mirror like that!

_________________________
In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.
Camus

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#190617 - 11/09/07 02:30 PM Re: The God Question [Re: Trish4850]
Coach Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/05/07
Posts: 28
Loc: California
Greetings:

I have studied alot about God (Theology). However, God (which is immaterial) or spirit seems to make sense to me when others that have been wounded come along and bear their struggles.

Coach


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