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#76879 - 06/11/03 04:42 PM Re: God.. *trigger*
dwf Offline
Moderator/BoD Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/24/03
Posts: 1223
Loc: Austin, Texas USA
Hi James and all,

I'm glad you posted this topic.

Much of the early sexual abuse in my life occurred in the context of my religious community, and so I appreciate your honesty in asking these questions.

I started to answer with a big long dissertation about how the abuse of power is at the root of all sexual abuse. I tend to be verbose.

And how I as a victim of sexual abuse, can (and perhaps should) feel very nervous and frightened of situations where I am told that an authority or power might be used to abuse me again.

I'm glad that you are questioning those beliefs that ask you to submit to them without question, like religions.

But what I want to share is my experience in tapping in to that power that people call God, without having to participate in the power seeking that exists in most human organizations, like religions.

That's not what religion is meant to be, but that's what it easily degenerates into.

I think of God like a power generating plant. I'm in the dark a lot, so I need some power to light up the room I'm stuck in.

I can't think my way into making light in the dark, no matter how hard I try. I am not a power generating plant---but rather like a lamp.

Now I have spent a lot of time theorizing about the existence or non-existence of the power generating plant.

I got really frustrated. Then someone who understood suggested that I just go and flip the light switch on the wall that would connect me to the power generating plant. He even showed me where it was.

When I do that, the light comes on. Then I'm free to look around and see clearly. And as I am apt to do, meditate on the nature of God.

But I don't have to do it alone. I don't have to do it in the dark.

And neither do you. I'm glad you're here. It's really scary to be alone in the dark. I needed someone to be with today.

Some faith communities are very supportive and loving. So are some religious people.

But when faced with something like sexual abuse, it is my experience that men who have been through what I went through are the safest way for me to turn on the light.

You and I flip that switch to "on" every time we come here. That's why I appreciate your sharing so much. I forget quickly and need a reminder.

Your torture in prison is a terrible crime against your humanity. I am very sorry that it happened to you. I want to comfort you and protect you. I know what rape is like.

I have been a very religious person. It has been agonizing for me to live with the effects of the sexual abuse and what that did to my faith. It isn't easy some days to believe. It is even harder to not believe.

Be easy on yourself. You deserve a lot of TLC.

I now avoid situations like religions that claim to be the ONLY WAY, and threaten punishment if I don't follow that ONE and ONLY WAY.

It feels like abuse to me. Maybe it does to you too. You not only have a right to your feelings, you have a responsibility to honor them too.

Thanks for being responsible.

_________________________
"Poke salad Annie, 'gators got you granny
Everybody said it was a shame
'Cause her mama was aworkin' on the chain-gang"

-Tony Joe White

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#76880 - 06/11/03 06:02 PM Re: God.. *trigger*
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
SP: What a thread!

James: What a post!

Quote:
GOD! What does the word really mean? When I hear it I picture a man all powerful, all knowing. OK so why is that what I see? Thats what I was tought to picture. I think it's odd how many churches tell a person how it is. Seems to me that a real church would show someone how to find the answer's for themselves.
James I agree! By my beliefs the picture is right as far as it goes anyway. But I came to those answers on my own not becuz someone said so. Otherwise they're his/her answers, not mine.

Quote:
I have never had one church, not one, show me how to "use" my bible. They just say "The answer's your looking for are in the bible." Well great there in the bible, that does me a lot of good if I have no idea how or where to look.
James that's a shame--the shame of all those churches! That's lazy & neglectful
"spirituality" in the name of God IMNSHO!

Like, I used to get irritated when someone said about the spelling of a word, "Look it up in the dictionary." If I knew how to spell it I wouldn't need to look it up!

There are Bible commentaries (notes about the Bible & what's in it), concordances (listing many or all of the incidences of a given word in the Bible), also Bible dictionaries & encyclopedias.
So that people can "search the Scriptures" as Jesus said, for themselves. Many can be found online, and many are free.

Here's a few links, bro:

http://www.blueletterbible.org/

http://bible.christiansunite.com/index.shtml

http://www.internetdynamics.com/pub/vc/bibles.html

If you want James use these to look up some things
like the characteristics or attributes of God, the
power of God, the wisdom or knowledge of God.
Decide for yourself. Paint your own picture, bro, using the brushes & paints, the tools, of the Bible.

Quote:
They say if you are having a problem
"Take it to God, leave it with him and let him deal with it." OK so just what does that mean? If Im having trouble with my CSA I sould take them troubles to him and give it to him and poof Im healed?
No way! Dont'cha just love the way people who apparently have had no serious problems in their entire lives or are in total denial about them try to make things sound so easy when its so obvious they are not?!

Of course we can take things to God and He can help us with them, but they don't just go away.

God is not a magician, prayer is not magical incantations, & Bible verses are not magic pills.

At least that's the beliefs I've come to from what I've seen & experienced. FWIW.

Quote:
Seems that every church I have ever gone to or watched on tv or had someone knock on my door about tells me they are the way to the truth.
Christian churches had better believe that they are a way to the truth; but they better be showing it by showing people the way to the truth, helping them find their own way.

Otherwise what are they taking up space for?!

Now, any church or person or group that says they have the truth, the absolute only truth, I would avoid like the plague!

Quote:
TRUTH? At this point I would like some consistency (spelling?).
Yes bro you spelled it right. Too bad so many churches & religious groups can't seem to do that.

Quote:
I mean how is that; using the same bible (the king james version) that 15 different churches can have such different beliefs they teach? OK so Im told God left the bible open to interpation to each one of us.
Sometimes its a matter of different yet compatible
beliefs, interpretations, applications. Scriptures
can honestly mean a many different things, for different people in different times & situations.

But sometimes its just stuck in the mud traditions
or personal pet peeves or personality preferences.
Little to do with what the Bible actually says.

Quote:
Then it is our job to read it and determan just what the words mean to us. But when you do that and start to question what is being tought to you, suddenly you need to pray for guidence. lol guidence? How do they know I didnt do that BEFORE I start looking?
Oh it gets under my skin when someone has the cast
iron nerve to ass-u-me Im not doing something then
suggests I do it, especially when I already am!

And to tell you to decide for yourself but to
"pray for guidance" when this leads you, as by definition it would, to question what you've been taught! Why tell you to read it & decide for yourself in the first place then?!

This is a violation of what I believe is the God-given right of each person to make their own choices, free will. Talk about lazy & insecure. I left one church denomination primarily becuz of just this problem. I'd leave my current one in a heartbeat if it became a problem here.

Quote:
Why is it if I have questions about what the man on the stage is saying to me, it's my fault because I dont have enough faith.
Becuz the man on the stage or those who blindly listen to him are too insecure in their own faith
to have it questioned. Their faith is seriously misplaced. You'd better have questions about what the man says! The first question being how does it match up with what the Bible says!

This is just my understanding but I don't think its as much a matter of how much faith we have as what or who we have faith in. In a Christian church faith by definition is in Christ. Period.

Quote:
OK then what is "faith". Im told it's believeing in something you cant see. OK so I cant see an atom, science tells me they are there. So I buy it, is that faith? I dont think faith is quite that easy.
No faith is not that easy, at least it sure hasn't been for me! How I envy those for whom it is so simple!

Sure I have faith that atoms exist, but so what? That's not a life & death matter for me.

"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." (Hebrews chapter 11 verse 1). Faith is believing for things
that you haven't seen & that haven't happened yet.
For Christians, this faith is founded in Christ.

But what that means for each individual life is anything but simple!

One way I think about it:

I sit in my recliner every evening with unthinking
faith that its going to hold me & not collapse. But if my life depended on that chair holding up,
I would think about it & sit carefully every time I sat. Or I would find another chair to sit in.

For me one aspect of faith is that its what I stake my life on. I've tried a lot of things and some have damn near killed me! Christ, in turn, died for me. As a Christian I stake my life on Christ. Period. Again, thats me.

Quote:
Now, they say if you have "faith" then you must understand "faith without works is dead." Meaning; if you have faith in God and all he has done for you in your life you will do his work.
Fine. Agreed. So where's the beef? Where's the faithful works of the church in helping others to find their way to faith--or not--for themselves?
Where is the faithful work of the church on behalf
in particular on behalf of male survivors of SA?

Oops; and you thot you were rambling James?!

OK so I got up on the soapbox or into my bully pulpit or whatever. I just get real aggravated with churches & church people that try to make it sound so easy when they know damned well it isn't!
Especially for us male survivors.

My mission is to do everything in my very limited power with whatever help God in His unlimited power will grant me to kick the church in its collective arse until it wakes up to the plight of male survivors, gets out of bed, and gets busy offering good teaching, support & advocacy, showing the way.

OK I'm down off the box now.

James you're right this thread can really get you going! As does your wonderful thot-provoking & very powerful post. Thank you!

Well I thot I might edit this but nah, if you guys want you can edit it for me.

Victor

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#76881 - 06/12/03 03:18 PM Re: God.. *trigger*
James_dup1 Offline


Registered: 04/13/02
Posts: 1332
Loc: Wyoming
Hi Victor,

Great reply. I just find it so nerve racking to have all these people knocking on my door telling Im going to hell if I dont leason to what they have to teach. Going to hell? Please if you could see into my soul you would know I've been there, even brought some suvaner's (spelling?) back with me and trying very hard to get ride of them. What some?... lol
Thanks your your thoughts on this.
James

_________________________
I have more issues than Rolling Stone!


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#76882 - 06/12/03 08:15 PM Re: God.. *trigger*
outis Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2260
Loc: Maryland USA
Quote:
No faith is not that easy, at least it sure hasn't been for me! How I envy those for whom it is so simple!
Victor,

I've been wondering if you were thinking of my post when you wrote that. My point was to show that science has no more claim to "objectivity" than religion does, since science also ultimately rests on faith.

If you were thinking of my post, I hope you didn't think I confused having a simple idea with living an easy life. My faith really is as simple as I portrayed it above. I am not a theologian or a scientist, so I can't get into the detailed discussions that people like that could. And I know that I can't, so I'm satisfied with my simple explanations for myself. I don't know enough about quantum physics to understand how my chair holds my body in front of this keyboard, but I accept that it does. I don't know enough about the mind of God to know why I have endured what I have and should continue to try to do good, but I accept that I should.

But that simple idea doesn't make things easy. Here's another example of a simple idea - "Get over it!" Simple idea, but not an easy task. \:\(

I'm sorry if I seem overly sensitive, and I'm really sorry if you weren't even thinking of my post! But I wanted to clarify what I wrote earlier.

Thanks,

Joe

_________________________
"Telemachos, your guest is no discredit to you. I wasted no time in stringing the bow, and I did not miss the mark. My strength is yet unbroken…"—The Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse

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#76883 - 06/13/03 02:46 PM Re: God.. *trigger*
Freedom Offline
Member

Registered: 09/21/02
Posts: 164
Loc: US
All,

Sometimes it makes more sense not to confuse God with Church. This is not to take away from the good things Church communities do but to help us deal with the bad.

Peace,
Freedom

_________________________
Life is moving on. AM I?

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#76884 - 06/13/03 03:50 PM Re: God.. *trigger*
Sans Logos Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 5791
Loc: in my own world in pittsburgh,...
Hello All!

It is good to hear the inner dialogues around the subject of "God" retold in these forums. I especially appreciate hearing stories that resonate with mine and it reminds me of how the God thread wove itself thru my life.

My whole life has been a cycle of on/off around the god-thing.

God[religion]/On
My first "God-on" experience harkens back to when I was young. Our family was extra-religious, Irish catholic brand, and big-time controlling. We were groomed to have no opinion or viewpoint, and would learn very early to defer to the "wisdom" of adults, OR ELSE; of course not just any adults but only those who were approved by the censors: ie, CATHOLIC church representatives (those of other faiths were discounted as having no credibility), or their delgates (typically the white male variety, but even better if they were in politics or on TV).
Anyway, I remember when I was in 2nd grade having just made my first communion, I used to say mass by myself in my room. I felt a very strong and fervent connection to something, but didn't necessarily think of it as God. After all my experience of God was a taught version that came from the Baltimore Catechism, which basically boiled down to memorizing a bunch of Q & A's and regurgetating the approved notions of the above forementioned.
After grade school I outgrew a desire to be a priest, basically because i was told my grades were not good enough, but later I would figure out it was because our famly did not really have money or power, and getting voted in was all about that.
Then the high school years were a big turning point for me, because then that is when most of the abuse occured and recurred, and at that time with both parents working and away from the homestead, the whole immediate family became religion-less. My mom started having an affair of some nature with her boss, and god only knows where my emotionally vacant father was. I learned about drugs at this time, and this now became my religion.

God[religion]/Off
After graduating I went to the navy--still, no God, but when I got out I ended up hooking up with a former neighborhood gal and we got into a band. What the hell, eveyone else was married so why not? We got married-no love, no desire, no attraction-just common life of partying. At that point, the effects of long term SA by my older brother coupled to the unresolved effects of having been raped at knifepoint by a stranger began to kick in. Being the addict I was, drugs, alcohol, nicotine et al would not be enough to quell the voices of the demons of guilt and shame stewing within. So I added another drug:

God[religion]/On

Became a born again Christian and and did everything I could to purge myself of my "sin". Still, all the prayers, fasting and almsgiving in the world would not amount to so much as one molecule of a mustard seed.

After 8 years and 3 kids later, the marriage went south and Ron got into AA and began recovery.

God[religion]/Off

God[spirituality]/On

It's been 18 years now since giving it all up and seeking a life of inner authenticity. At some point along the wayI slowly, but surely began to shed my self-righteous need for God[religion]/On mentality and began to realize it for what it was: yet another control tactic. I desparately needed to cling to notions about "right & wrong", but the real deal is that whether I am a product of the american morality making machine, or sitting in yellow skin in a temple on a mountain in Tibet or in brown skin in an amazon rain forest, God is much more than our limited humanity will ever grasp conceptually. Beyond language God is mystery never to be fully fathomed. No one can lead me to intimacy with him-this is a relationship that is between me and G[g]od. In the context of history, christianity certainly has not made a positive case with me, but I have firmly come to believe that all of the "things" we have noted in Bibles and other manifestos are simply corollaries pointing to a mystery with a much deeper meaning than our symbolic words gestures and rituals are able to express. I am so thankful that I have outgrown the need to have an "Inner Bully" dictate my response to popular opinion of such things.

God[spirituality]/On........way, way ON!

There I go again, blah blah blah.............

Thanks to you all for the real spirit of love that dwells here in the heart of this forum. Your unconditional love and non-judgemental minds are my religion-i study you daily and try my best to imitate your way. And the wonderful thing about it is that this goal IS attainable!

Ron

_________________________
  1. the past
  2. ReClaiming Now
  3. advocacy


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#76885 - 06/13/03 03:57 PM Re: God.. *trigger*
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Quote:
I just find it so nerve racking to have all these people knocking on my door telling Im going to hell if I dont leason to what they have to teach. Going to hell?
Whether or whatever one believes about hell, no one can know someone else is going to hell
at all. To tell someone they are going to hell if they don't listen to what they believe is the height of spiritual arrogance & abuse. While I don't profess to know the mind of God much at all,
I somehow doubt God is pleased with this.

Quote:
Please if you could see into my soul you would know I've been there, even brought some suvaner's (spelling?) back with me and trying very
hard to get ride of them. What some?... lol
No bro I don't think they do want them. I think they are too fearful that they have too many souvenirs from hell of their own reminding them of their own course in life. I think their faith is very insecure and they transfer that insecurity
to others. I think many of them have souvenirs from trips to hell that were self-made and haven't
a clue what its like to be forced into a hell not of one's choosing & how hard it is to escape that.

Anyway, that's what I think FWIW...

Quote:
Victor,

I've been wondering if you were thinking of my post when you wrote that. My point was to show that science has no more claim to "objectivity" than religion does, since science also ultimately rests on faith.
No, Joe, I was strictly responding to James' post.
Tho I did read yours, did understand your point, & certainly do agree with it.

Actually that was kinda my point too, with the example of my recliner. Only I was saying science
may actually from my view have less objectivity or maybe it's less dependability than religion i.e. Christian faith.

Quote:
Sometimes it makes more sense not to confuse God with Church. This is not to take away from the good things Church communities do but to help us deal with the bad.
Freedom, I think that makes a lot of sense. God is
perfect (in the traditional Christian view). The Church certainly is not, tho to the degree God's Spirit lives in & thru Christians/The Church they
are reflecting God's perfection in the world. While it's obvious our reflectors are a bit dirty
there is still a lot of good in the Church. A lot more good could be happening thru the Church. Particularly on behalf of male survivors. That's my vision.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that a person going to church doesn't make them a Christian much
less a perfect Christian, any more than my Honda Civic going thru the same car wash as a Lambourgini makes it a Lambourgini or a perfect car!

Victor

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#76886 - 06/13/03 08:30 PM Re: God.. *trigger*
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Ron
Quote:
At some point along the wayI slowly, but surely began to shed my self-righteous need for God[religion]/On mentality and began to realize it for what it was: yet another control tactic. I desparately needed to cling to notions about "right & wrong", but the real deal is that whether I am a product of the american morality making machine, or sitting in yellow skin in a temple on a mountain in Tibet or in brown skin in an amazon rain forest, God is much more than our limited humanity will ever grasp conceptually. Beyond language God is mystery never to be fully fathomed. No one can lead me to intimacy with him-this is a relationship that is between me and G[g]od. In the context of history, christianity certainly has not made a positive case with me, but I have firmly come to believe that all of the "things" we have noted in Bibles and other manifestos are simply corollaries pointing to a mystery with a much deeper meaning than our symbolic words gestures and rituals are able to express. I am so thankful that I have outgrown the need to have an "Inner Bully" dictate my response to popular opinion of such things.
This make absolute sense to me.
I was raised in a religious ( Methodist ) family and accepted that way of life.
The boarding school wher my abuse took place was also a very religious settng, and that's where I, to this day, remember conciously rejecting all religion.

I still do, but for many reasons now. But I do firmly believe we can live spiritual and worthwhile lives without the structure of an organised religion.

But I do try to remain 'neutral' and would not try to dissuade anyone from believing, and those that try to convince me thet their religion will offer me something I haven't already got I try to remain polite to.

dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#76887 - 06/13/03 09:46 PM Re: God.. *trigger*
Sleepy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/08/02
Posts: 288
Loc: Arizona, USA
Dave, you beat me to the punch.

Ron, I was blown away by your post. First, it is so tempting to cling to those notions of "right & wrong" because it's easy. It doesn't challenge you in any real way. I've been struggling a lot with myself in the last few years and I've desperatly wanted to have some sort of rigid frame work with which to live my life. You know, I wanted the instruction booklet because that makes things easy. But the truth of the matter, and conciously I know this, is that things are never that clear cut. It just takes a lot of discipline and hard work to understand something when it lies somewhere inbetween. So for me it is a question of whether I will take "The Road Less Traveled" and figure things out on my own (That's a great book, by the way).

However, at the same time I find myself feeling very unsure about this whole issue. Like you, Christianity in the historical context has left me with more questions than answers. And at the same time I can't figuratively see my self sitting in Tibet or the Amazon soaking in their religious doctrines either. So I think the real question is how do I absorb or balance the spiritual essence of these traditions without adopting some dogmatic approach to it? Well, this is all very interesting.

On a side note concerning Religion and Science, the movie "Contact" superbly deals with this issue. I loved Carl Sagen and the way he dealt with this was great. Hopefully other here have seen it.
Mike

_________________________
"It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end."
--Ursula K. Le Guin

"Mental health is a commitment to reality at all times."
--M. Scott Peck

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