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#459768 - 01/30/14 11:07 AM Christianity, the Only Hope for Survivor Recovery?
SamV Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 5945
Loc: Talladega, Alabama, USA
Foreword... As a Christian, I have both felt the welcoming care and the harsh rejection of a body of Christians. I believe in the Word of God and in the way He chooses to use imperfect humans to carry out His Will and Purpose. I invite strong opinions and conversation, however personal attacks will not be tolerated.


Is Christianity the only hope for survivor recovery?
Male sexual abuse survivors come to a realization at some point in their lives, whether acknowledged cognitively or fleeting subconscious, that the struggle to live their lives through the damage of the abuse, the running away from it or the recreating of it that it is destroying them. The cycle of destructive process is harming them, keeping them from happiness and comfort. Through an emergency such as a relationship, secular loss or legal issues, the survivor re-evaluates his behavior and can begin to look for resolution to the destruction he knows he is creating in his life and the lives around him.

A great many survivors turn to a higher power to find the answers. Those who follow a higher power can be compassionate, sympathetic and kind. Christianity offers much information and practical application of such a higher power, namely "God". Pursuing happiness and comfort through Christianity, the survivor first mimics the actions of the group, imitating their faith and kindness, then learns to be compassionate in the group and finally to himself. He begins to heal and support himself, finding understanding in the lessons and actions of the Christian group. In turn, he reaches out to others in support and perpetuates the cycle.

Is this process of supporting recovery strictly Christian? Is there other groups that offer this process? Since sexual abuse abounded throughout history, how did humans recover before Christianity? Is it through faith or man's enlightenment that sexual abuse recovery has come to be the force it is today?

Does Christianity meet the needs of survivor recovery?
The survivor is welcomed into such a community and is offered the comforts of soothing words. "God Loves you", "God is Good", God is Caring", "God Hears the cries of the afflicted one". This consoles the heated turmoil inside the survivor. He can understand compassion and kindness and can use these internally to heal the damage caused by the abuse. Then, as the survivor builds confidence in the process, he in turn helps new ones to begin their healing process.

What about those who have been abused or silenced by followers of Christianity? The survivor who has been abused by, disclosed to or silenced by a "Christian" may not be able feel the healing relief of Christianity. In fact, quite the opposite. The survivor can feel fearful animosity, resentment, bitterness and anger towards the whole of Christianity. In fact many survivors feel strong, negative emotions surrounding the geographic or social areas where the abuse occurred. What is the solution? In therapy, strongly entrenched thoughts and feelings are considered in a safe, supportive environment for weeks and months before challenging the survivor to reconsider the conclusions he has formed to protect himself. If a survivor is challenged before he is ready to face those conclusions, he can be revictimized, driving the fear and turmoil to the foundation of his beliefs and convictions. This is counter productive to any healing process and could lead to permanent psychosis.

Does a survivor abused by a Christian follower have to acclimate to Christianity in order to heal? Can Christians support a non Christian in healing while allowing the beliefs of the survivor to remain intact, whatever the origins? Can a survivor who is not Christian thrive in a community where most are Christian?

Does every survivor need to be a Christian in order to recover?
As a survivor begins the healing process, there are many sources to find healthful words, connections and groups. Some of these are Christian, some are of other faiths, some are not faith based. The survivor chooses the words, therapies and exercises that bring him relief in the short term, balance and comfort in the long term. This eclectic gathering of comfort and self help will not immediately come from the areas that challenge the survivor, but will come from sources of trust that the survivor feels are a safe, secure source. There are many examples of rational and irrational avoidance where trauma has been experienced, when is the appropriate time for an external source to demand acclimation or challenge the conclusions of the trauma survivor? Would it be appropriate to demand that a drowning victim be thrust into the water, or a climber go back to the slope, or that an investor who has been the victim of financial fraud be made to invest?

Christianity is a way of life for me personally, but it is not a way of life for many survivors. I have found healing comfort and consistent, long term healing outside of Christianity. At one time, I could not bring myself to feel the comfort and support of the Christian community as I had been abused by it's members and also had been rejected by them. I followed a non Christian path, using exercises and therapies that were not specifically Christian in order to find healing comfort. While I eventually accepted Christianity and it's lifestyle, I can empathize with and support those who not only do not follow my lifestyle choice but who also adamantly refute this path. It is a testament of my faith to allow such dissenting views to be voiced that I may reason with the dissenter, agreeing with that which I can as well as supporting where the path of recovery has taken the fellow survivor in which I have so much in common.
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#459770 - 01/30/14 11:19 AM Re: Christianity, the Only Hope for Survivor Recovery? [Re: SamV]
victor-victim Offline


Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 3413
Loc: O Kanada
Is Christianity the only hope for survivor recovery?
Only Jesus Christ gave me hope.

Does Christianity meet the needs of survivor recovery?
Jesus Christ met my recovery needs.

Does every survivor need to be a Christian in order to recover?
I was unable to recover completely without Jesus Christ.

It worked for me.
I highly recommend it.
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#459771 - 01/30/14 12:13 PM Re: Christianity, the Only Hope for Survivor Recovery? [Re: SamV]
Castle Offline


Registered: 10/03/09
Posts: 733
Loc: NJ
My experience with religion and religious organizations, which stating at a young age, were based on shame and conformity. Those who dont/didn't fall into line were ostracized. It has no place in my life or recovery.

This past year I joined the oldest men's club in NJ. Our unofficial motto is "Inclusive not exclusive" unlike many country clubs or organizations around. We have our own bowling lanes and an awesome weekly league. The point is to have fun and comraddery with other men. We don't care about your ethnicity, your orientation, age, religion or what you do for a living, whether you can bowl or not....We care about having fun with other men, and a great community of diversity. Embracing our diversity instead of focusing on what makes us different.

That's what life is about, to me. Being included, belonging and cared about for who I am without having to change or conform to anything...Allowing me to be me.

Ps
Sam, I've always felt supported by you, even if we disagreed...you're a good man.


Edited by Castle (01/30/14 12:23 PM)
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#459777 - 01/30/14 01:08 PM Re: Christianity, the Only Hope for Survivor Recovery? [Re: SamV]
WriterKeith Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/30/10
Posts: 952
Loc: southern California
Sam,
Your post is very, very well written with wisdom and compassion: something we've lost in the message of frustration, fear, and anger broadcast by sensationalist televangelists over the past 40 years.
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#460588 - 02/12/14 11:31 PM Re: Christianity, the Only Hope for Survivor Recovery? [Re: SamV]
ThisMan Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/22/13
Posts: 767
Loc: upper south
This is beautifully and lovingly shared, Sam. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your heart. I was not hurt by "the church" (low caps intended), my abuses coming from other areas. But I have certainly been hurt by the good intentions of well-meaning Christians, too many times to listen anymore. To the point that I no longer attend a service and avoid almost at all costs situations were one or more individuals discuss the Bible. I find the over abundance of self proclaimed "knowledge above all others" of all things Biblical and spiritual to be rather scary for me and those who do so to be simply arrogant. Especially since I know a goodly amount myself- but who doesn't? How I wish all followers of Biblical teachings humbled themselves as you did with your post. There would be more souls like me willing to stick around and possibly hear something we haven't heard for a very long time…. Love.

Christianity isn't the only hope for survival, but Love certainly may be.
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#460593 - 02/13/14 12:06 AM Re: Christianity, the Only Hope for Survivor Recovery? [Re: SamV]
Castle Offline


Registered: 10/03/09
Posts: 733
Loc: NJ
good thoughts ThisMan, I find the preacher from any religion to be one of the bigger issues.
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#460596 - 02/13/14 12:17 AM Re: Christianity, the Only Hope for Survivor Recovery? [Re: Castle]
victor-victim Offline


Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 3413
Loc: O Kanada
hypocrites and false prophets and bad shepherds have been a problem for a long time.


Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:
“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.
So you must be careful to do everything they tell you.
But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.
They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders,
but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.
“Everything they do is done for people to see:
They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long;
they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues;
they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.
“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers.
And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.
Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah.
The greatest among you will be your servant.
For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!
You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces.
You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!
You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded,
you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.


Matthew 23
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#460603 - 02/13/14 12:51 AM Re: Christianity, the Only Hope for Survivor Recovery? [Re: SamV]
Castle Offline


Registered: 10/03/09
Posts: 733
Loc: NJ
I think this constitutes preaching, and bothers me on so many levels. Im not even reading what it says, as its a snippet of a fictions book meant to make people conform. I'm also not talking about the people who I communicate with who feel the same, just me here. I think, personally sometimes its a way to hide and resolve old stuff, without actually resolving it with people who might have been harmed.

I don't think you even read what we wrote, and this man wrote in the prior two entrees. Or if you did, its a total lack of personal boundaries that require a preachy answer when we say that doesn't work for us.

sometimes when people are working through stuff, they don't NEED to get exactly what they say they don't need, but others feel the need to PUSH…IDK. Can we talk like men, or are we resolved to type/read others words from a long time ago that can be interpetad 50 different ways.
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#460606 - 02/13/14 03:32 AM Re: Christianity, the Only Hope for Survivor Recovery? [Re: Castle]
victor-victim Offline


Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 3413
Loc: O Kanada
my apologies, castle.
i was agreeing with your post.

Originally Posted By: Castle
good thoughts ThisMan, I find the preacher from any religion to be one of the bigger issues.


when i use a scripture, it is just me saying what i think and feel,
but the bible says what i think much better than i could sometimes.

not preaching, but sharing. my thoughts. my feelings.


p.s. the guy who raped me was a "christian". i hated god and christians most times, and ridiculed them most other times. i understand completely the damage caused by bad "christians". i have a hard enough time obeying the first commandment "love god", let alone the second one "love people".
*the 2 commandments*
i still do not trust churches, organized religion, or people who claim "christianity". i follow jesus. i read the bible. that's my thing. prayer and study, that's the easy part. fellowship with decent people, that is the hard part. i am as much a hypocrite and sinner as anyone else, more so even. Let God be true, and every human being a liar. that includes me. all i am trying to do is live better, and learn how to cope, and share my good will with my brother survivors as best i can.

please remember what SamV said in his original post on this thread.

*When provoked* "Anyone holding back his sayings is possessed of knowledge.” (Proverbs 17:27)"
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#460617 - 02/13/14 04:48 AM Re: Christianity, the Only Hope for Survivor Recovery? [Re: SamV]
Jacob S Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/01/13
Posts: 613
Loc: where the shadows lie
I don't see the bible as the inspired word of god, but there is some good writing in it. "You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are" is a great line. The above passage is an indictment of the religious leaders of the day and points out flaws that they still haven't seemed to be able to work out. I can see beauty and truth (small t) in it the same way I can see beauty and truth in Shakespeare or Tolkien. But I also agree with you, Castle, that the Bible has so much baggage attached to it that giving a passage without any explanation can be more confusing than clarifying. Too many people have thought it says different things.

On the same topic, let me share something I wrote somewhere else recently:

I consider myself a former Christian and still believe I can get a lot out of the bible. I stopped believing in god because I realized that his existence had no predictable effect on the world. As in, one cannot say "if God exists, this will happen and if he doesn't it won't." People claim protection and "god will not give you more than you can bear" and "never have I seen the righteous foresaken" but the truth is that there is no discernible pattern of protection. There are tragedies, and it is the survivors who get to tell people that they prayed for deliverance. We never find out if the people who died anyway also had faith.

Anyway, I don't say that in anger or mockery just as an explanation of the straw that broke the camel's back for me in order to get to my actual point . . . which is that though I no longer think there is any evidence for a creator, I still find a lot of wisdom and meaning in the bible. I also use it as a tool to teach me to be kind to my fellow man. But I have found that it is an even better tool when I am allowed to recognize it as an imperfect human document that has limitations rather than the inspired word of god. disconnecting it from the baggage of its mythology (and if you knew me you'd know I only use that word as one of respect) has allowed me to focus on what works and no longer spend time trying to reconcile the passages that are either abhorrent or simply impractical. In my view, its a wonderful book -- it's just not a revelation.
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