It's very courageous of you to share about it. Thank you. I think you're right...talking about rape, something still sort of taboo, is important.
The worst thing for me was developing a sense of self while Christian.
I spent the majority of my life hating myself. At least 15 years. Hatred. Loathing. Disgust. Shame.
As a child, I was suicidal because of these feelings. I would not have felt this way had I not learned to think of LGBT people as despicable, unnatural, disgusting, barely human, willful sinners, abominations...
In adolescence and perhaps earlier, I tried to repress my sexuality, to become straight.
I did not date boys (or girls) as a teenager. I taught myself to live without emotion.
I had a breakdown of sorts in college. In the next few years, I had to rediscover my sexuality because it was so deeply repressed. I am grateful that I was able to remain at school given everything I was dealing with.
Since then, I have learned not to hate myself, most of the time. I do not know if I will ever have a healthy sense of self.
I still struggle to socialize and date. I do not know if I will ever have a life-partner. I fear living out an old age and dying alone.
I am a lot better, but I have a long way to go. I am missing age-related developmental milestones. My life is not progressing. I feel like I am not fully an adult.
I wish I had never gone to Catholic school, attended church, CCD, youth group, and lived in such a conservative town. I feel it is a small "miracle" that I did not become a statistic during those painful days in my childhood when I felt God had rejected me because I was some sort of evil perversion of nature, not even worthy of God's mercy.
Belle, that is an amazingly positive way to look at it and I like that. I will try to adopt that kind of attitude! Sadly, I'm sure my experience is not uncommon among the LGBT community. I'm actually "bisexual" or queer...looks like Sami explains the scope of "bisexuality" pretty well below... I've been an atheist maybe 2 years-ish.
K, I'm sure you'll find love one day, on terms that are right for you. If someone's a lovely person like you then someone will love them.
Well, I wasn't exactly religious when this happened...In fact I was trying to find a new faith at this time, but I realized I was bisexual (which I now realize is pansexuality, meaning I don't care about a person's gender or gender identity, I love everyone). It was a nightmare. I mean, I knew I liked girls since I was five, but I didn't realize it was "wrong" until I was a freshmeat in my high school (we had 8th graders move to the high school, so we had freshmeat before freshmen), and I was TERRIFIED. I still got a girlfriend in secret, but the school was the Bible Belt of New York, so we had to be CAREFUL...unfortunately, after I moved to a new high school thanks to the bullying, she was in a car accident, and her parents somehow knew about us and blamed me, saying that because I made her a "fag" I had caused her accident, not the drunk driver that put her in a coma...I wasn't allowed to see her, and I didn't know what became of her until a year later...when I found out she did wake up...but she was a vegetable, which was her greatest fear...Her parents basically used her against me, and I don't know if she's still trapped like that or if she is gone, but I hope she is...But...yeah...that's my experience...
This is so tragic. I hope you are somehow able to find out...to have some closure.
Mine would have to be a year ago (when I was 14 years old) in CCD. CCD is a Christian Night School that my parents made me go to so that I could be confirmed. They didn't know I was atheist (and still don't). So, my problem is that I always "challenge authority" by asking questions. We were learning about a man in the Bible who beat his wife for asking a question. It wasn't a disrespectful question, just everyday. So anyway, I raise my hand and ask my male teacher why the husband would dare do that, since this is abusive and completely wrong. He responds with, "Well, women were different back then. They needed to be beaten to understand what the men wanted, because they were not very smart." I definitely wasn't expecting this, so I mumble under my breathe, "Some kind of peaceful religion this is." I did not know he could hear me, and he turned around and said, "Well apparently beating the women didn't work, because one of them is STILL TALKING!" Screaming in my face, he points to the door and makes me say the Lord's Prayer 15 times in front of everyone. This was very traumatizing and scary, and is one of the reasons I, if you would say, "came out" as atheist to my friends. I needed to tell someone trustworthy what had happened and how unjust it was. My friends understood, and actually agreed with me. Let's just say I'm glad to be out of this "religion", even know I was force-confirmed. Oh well, we've all had bad experiences, but I'm never going to forget that one.
Yeah, I cut off contact as soon as I was confirmed. I considered telling my parents, and I still might, but I have a feeling that they would side with him. They hate when I ask religious questions and they would most likely be upset. The reason I share things on here is because I can't really talk to anyone about this. It's sad, but I only have a few friends that listen to me and that are fellow atheists. I will never see this man again (hopefully) since we live in different districts, and I am very glad about that! That CCD Class was a waste of 8 years of my life, and if I could go back in time and convince my parents not to sign me up, I would.
The worst thing that ever happened to me while being religious didn't even actually happen to me directly - it happened to my mother. She was abused by her alcoholic Southern Baptist lay preacher father.
This experience affected her and, through her, my father, my siblings, and me. I won't go into all the gory details but suffice it to say that even though I never met my grandfather his actions have profoundly impacted my life. I was taught that there is no god and believers are not to be trusted.
As a teenager and young adult I dutifully rejected my parents' ideals, including atheism. I sought belief in some kind of higher power to avoid my parents' fate. My dad did the best he could, but my mother is not a happy person. I thought her unhappiness came from being an atheist, especially after I encountered believers who told me that non-believers can't know joy.
In the end I realized for myself that there is most likely no god and that I am responsible for my own happiness no matter what has happened or what will happen. I realized my mother's unhappiness does not stem from being an atheist, but from a multitude of factors including religion-shrouded abuse.
I have told this to several Christians who have boldly asked why I do not believe. Their responses range from, "I am sorry that happened to your mother, but that person was obviously not a true Christian," to "That is awful, but Jesus still loves you and wants you to believe in him." They seem incapable of just accepting that I am not ever going to believe. I already understand that my grandfather did not represent Christianity, but he did to my mother. That's all that mattered.
They don't get it - it's too late. It is not because of what I was taught as a kid, but what I found out as an adult. If I wanted to play make-believe, I could pretend that I believe. I could tell myself that I believed until I did believe. I prefer to live in the real world which, in absolute defiance of the message my mother got and kept about life, I know to be a place capable of amazing beauty, compassion and love without the necessity for a supreme being.