Sad movies are the reason I don't believe in God.

I only realized this tonight.
When I was really involved in the church (teenage years) I loved the feeling of being really emotionally charged. Like I could change the world. I loved the feeling of walking out of a youth service in a Wednesday night like i was walking on air. Like I had the world figured out. Like I was invincible. Like anyone could say anything to me and it would bounce off me and turn into rainbows.
Eventually I figured out what was going on. I would go to a service, get really emotionally involved with what was going on, go home, and soon feel exactly the same as before I went to the service. I was incredibly unhappy as a teen. I even tried to end it all once. I wanted church to be my way out.
One year, at church camp, I decided to not let myself get caught up in the emotional part of church camp. If God wanted to move in me he was really going to have to MOVE in me. I wasn't going to let myself be swayed into the emotional pit then wonder where it all went shortly after.
Ya know what happened? Nothing. I went to church camp. Felt nothing. Went home exactly the same. Nothing moved.
Sad movies are exactly the same. They are emotional predators. I went to see "My Sister's Keeper" tonight. It was pretty fucking sad and when I left I felt eerily similar to when i would walk out of a church service! I felt like I needed to call my ex-boyfriends to tell them things I've wanted to say for years!
Justin: You're really nice and I'm sorry I cheated on you.
Steve: You're an idiot for getting back with your ex-girlfriend and I can't believe you're going to marry her and expect it to work. You're the reason I've been single for the better part of 2 years.
Ryan: You're creepy.
Jeff: Grow the fuck up.
Alex: I don't want to date you. I just want to sleep with you.
Justin#2: You're an asshole. I like musicians. If you weren't musically talented I would've dropped you long before you could tell me you can't date me because I'm an atheist.
The correlation between church and sad movies is the emotional manipulation. You're duped into feeling a certain way for a period of time but soon enough you're back to your normal frame of mind as if nothing ever happened. If a true act of God ever moved through me I think it would have a more lasting effect. Church preys on your insecurities. That's why there was a separate service for the teens. Our demographic was an easy target. Being duped is a good way of stating it. Looking back, I definitely feel duped. I don't cry at sad movies because I get a similar feeling of being duped.
Maybe I'm just jaded.

Views: 51

Comment by Keith Swiggart on June 27, 2009 at 8:34am
Im a jaded musician and I wouldn't leave you for being an atheist, just saying. Anyway I totally agree, in my case I was duped into a church that made me speak in tounges and think I was gods greatest warrior, but at night I would wonder why I felt so sad. I just wish I could travel back and tell myself how much happier I am now that I let go of all that nonsense.
Comment by Reggie on June 27, 2009 at 10:21am
anyone could say anything to me and it would bounce off me and turn into rainbows.

That made me chuckle. Thanks.

Interesting analogy. I can't relate to the religious portion as I never bought into it that much, but god I tried! But movies? I loved movies growing up and I would leave the theater feeling like a WWII combat hero or a gongfu master. Of course, that feeling would fade within an hour or so of me walking out of the theater doing kicks and chops in emulation of the on-screen hero.

My one weakness is sad movies. Saving Private Ryan? I cried and didn't feel bad. Other movies start the orchestra and really try to jerk your tears like an angry farmer's wife milking a cow. This overt plea to grab the Kleenax and bawl leave me disgusted as I mutter "oh, you rotten bastards".

Empathy is a powerful and integral part of the human experience. Like any emotion, they can be preyed upon. But done right, in the context of filmography, it can be a rewarding experience. After all, if we have no emotions in relation to the film or it's characters, there would be no point in watching.

Religion does seem to be like that shameless, tear jerker film. It has some components of a good film; sense of community, acts of charity, friendships, etc. However, it has those groan inducing elements of the full orchestra cuing up the waterworks; deity worship, delusions, irrationality, suppression of critical thought and inquiry, intolerance, bigotry, etc. Those are the parts that fail and leave me muttering "oh, you rotten bastards".
Comment by Erica on June 27, 2009 at 1:36pm
Im a jaded musician and I wouldn't leave you for being an atheist, just saying.

That was cute! Thanks for that.

Reggie, from your description of your experiences with movies it seems like you've got the church thing down!
Comment by CJoe on June 27, 2009 at 3:08pm
Yeah... you nailed it right on the head. I felt the same way, but I was always on the sidelines of the emotional highs people were feeling, sitting in the corner wondering "do they really feel that excited about all this?" I've never been a very emotional person, so getting in on that part of it was hard. I had to force it whenever I did get into it. I definitely think those emotional highs were the first red flags in my deconversion.
Comment by CJoe on June 27, 2009 at 3:11pm
@Keith... OMG yeah! I went to those tongue-speaking churches for a long time, too... only I could never do it because I didn't wanna fake it. They really didn't appreciate that I couldn't do it; I think it made them wonder about the whole thing and that wasn't cool. Besides, a lot of them thought I wasn't "saved" because I couldn't... which was extremely insulting and presumptuous. I mean, dude. I was saved! ;)
Comment by Morgan Matthew on June 27, 2009 at 7:03pm

Comment by Reggie on June 27, 2009 at 7:04pm
Nice stamp!
Comment by jen o on June 27, 2009 at 8:12pm
yep i went to a church like that too. and sadly, i used to speak in tongues as well : / it was just jibberish. hundai hundai, untie my bowtie....oh lord!!!!!

funny thing, my husband and i met there and left there together, happily i might add. anyways, he used to run the sound for "worship" and he always got a kick out of turning down the lights, he claimed that that was when god showed up because everyone immediately started speaking in tongues and dancing all over the place lol!

i faked it. but i at least made the effort during worship, so i could fit in. when i didn't, word would get to my "dad" that i wasn't worshiping and i would get a talking to. most of the time i would just crawl in a corner and write poetry, pretending i was praying or something. i just felt so uncomfortable. i even let one of the revival so called prophets "poop me out" (thats what i called it, when they touch your head and you fall back lol) but i never felt a thing. then i started questioning why i never felt the holy spirit, like everyone else. and i just gave up altogether. after ten years of a series of questioning everything, i am now a very happy atheist! haven't been more peaceful than i am now!
Comment by Carmela Ramos on June 28, 2009 at 12:16am
Isn't it sad how indoctrinated many of us were. Looking for the approval of what? NOTHING! I do find it interesting and familiar, how "sad" movies make you feel, Erica. Yes, it's good and perhaps a gift to see things rationally. I however, don't want to be Spock. I learned that it was my resentment towards anything dealing with religion that made me feel that way. Such hurt and anger made me feel vulnerable to feeling certain emotions, mainly sorrow. It took some time but I healed in my own way.
Many kudos on the reflections of those ex's!!! I think I should try that but I may need a journal the size of War and Peace to get out all that anger!
Thanks so much for sharing!
Hmmm maybe we should start a new group page..."Secular confessional"! Now that would be funny!!
Comment by Greg Lammers on July 1, 2009 at 11:24am
Great post Erica, indeed knowledge can come in many forms.


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