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[info]countrymouse wrote
on July 9th, 2014 at 10:30 am

Religious scariness

I have been doing fine as a Pagan for over 20 years. And I thought that I had finally "gotten over" the fears and awfulness that were a part of my experience of Christianity. That religion may be a comfort to many, but all it did for me was make me fearful, anxious, and upset all the time. I finally left in 1990. I moved through phases of relief, anger, and other emotions; but eventually I thought I had reached a place of "live and let live".

Then two things happened in the last couple weeks. And I hate using this terminology (it seems to be all over the Internet), but I think this one thread I was reading on a tarot forum should have had a "trigger warning". People were being polite and giving various views about whether a Christian could "safely" read the tarot. Then there came the Bible quotes (mostly Old Testament). And somehow I found myself snapped back into thinking, "But what if they're right?" and feeling very afraid. Which is what tormented me for so long, both when I was inside that religion and after I had escaped. It doesn't help that I'm obsessive/compulsive.

The other thing that happened was that we watched the first two episodes of the new series, "The Leftovers". I did find an article online that helped me to understand that "the rapture concept is relatively new. It started with an Anglo-Irish theologian, who in the 1830s invented the concept...before John Nelson Darby imagined this scenario in the clouds, no Christian had ever heard of the rapture." The word "rapture" doesn't even appear in the Bible.

But why am I even concerned about what's in the Bible at ALL?? I had come to understand that the Bible was A holy book, not THE holy book.

So how do I regain my equanimity? How do I put aside what is not part of the belief system I had moved into and felt fairly at ease with? "What if they're right?" That is the awful phrase that can haunt you if you do not have absolute spiritual certainty. But really, NO one can have *spiritual* certainty. Religious certainty, yes. I had that when I was a born-again Christian and was terrified of what would happen to my family and friends if they did not convert. Now I am not certain about much of anything spiritual...except this:

"Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them." -- The Dalai Lama

I need to hold onto that as my lifeline. That is the Golden Rule in a nutshell. And that is really all any of us can actually know for certain.

::deep breath:: Stay away from toxic things. Stay with what is good and kind. If anyone else has some good, peaceful ideas, I am open to them.


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