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Confused (tw: religion)

This is a bit random because my brain likes to throw me curveballs but I kinda wondered what other people’s thoughts were on organised religion and conversion and stuff? 


I was baptised and was extremely religious as a child (although my family’s not) and the last six months or so I’ve been drawing closer to religion again. I find so much peace in this specific denomination. At times I even feel I am being called to be a cloistered sister. 

It’s scary. I had intense religious obsessions/compulsions as a child so a lot of religion feels very...tainted and I’m wary of relapsing into OCD thought patterns. Plus, this particular religion has historically espoused views that I 100% disagree with. Although to be fair these were the views of the clergy, and were not necessarily upheld by scripture. But I do feel I would be betraying my friends and culture and gender by going back to this religion. 


Does anyone else have experience or thoughts to share? I would appreciate hearing them. I might try to talk to my uni’s chaplain when I can, because I’ve met her before and she’s very friendly. I’m just not sure what to say. 


Re: Confused (tw: religion)

I've done a good amount of cross-disciplinary study on religions, and I'm still not sure what my thoughts on religion (and organised religion) are in particular beyond knowing that they're not for me.

What do you find peaceful about the religion?

I think going and speaking with your uni's chaplain sounds like a great idea. But I hear you on not knowing what to say. Perhaps you could speak to her about her thoughts on the issues you have with the religion (such as the historically espoused views you mentioned)?

Forgive me for not remembering this and having to ask. Are you currently seeing a psych or similar? Because if so they may be able to help you navigate your religious exploration while helping to keep those OCD thought patterns in check.

Re: Confused (tw: religion)

I find this confusing too! Used to strongly believe in a particular religion (granted, the one I was taught was true by lots of sources since childhood), now have no idea what I believe. Here's some rambling thoughts on the matter:

-I'm pretty sure there's something that's fundamentally true about life, the universe, and everything, how it came to be and why

-But I'm much less sure there's a way to know for certain what those truths are

-But I think efforts to try and learn/discover them are noble and brave (although I don't currently have the capacity to do it)

-I think there's more to the world than what we see

-I think religion is people's guesses about what those truths are and attempts to live by them

-I think religion can give hope and comfort and purpose sometimes

-I think it doesn't always give those things, and the expectation that it will can hurt people

-I think people can use the label of religion to do hurtful things

-I think religion can motivate people to do good and loving things


Good on you for thinking about all this stuff Smiley Happy and if you do decide this religion is for you, anything that anyone else has done/ thought/ believed under the banner of this religion won't be a reflection on you.


Maybe think about warning signs to look out for that you might be heading towards those patterns of thinking? And I agree that chatting about those concerns with professionals in your life is probably a good idea. Maybe with open minded support people too if you have those? Others on the journey with you who also care about looking out for your wellbeing would probably help


Thanks for this topic, I'm pretty interested to hear other people's views on it as well


Re: Confused (tw: religion)

Thank you both so much for your thoughtful replies  Heart


@Birdeye I find the concept of accepting that things are part of a larger plan, that I can let my fears and pain go and let it out through prayer, really comforting and peaceful. I find the ritual and repetition peaceful. Plus I feel so alone all of the time so the idea of a higher being who loves me and listens to me is very appealing - I've heard people describe a God as an 'imaginary friend' in a derogatory way but it kinda does feel like that to me. I had imaginary friends until I was 12 so maybe it's a replacement thing...? 

Yeah I definitely think I will talk to her. I've been reading a simplified version of the catechism of this denomination and noting down concerns/questions I have so maybe I will bring that list. 

I am seeing a psych atm; one thing she said was that I don't have to always believe my emotions. Like just because I 'feel' like something is bad and I should avoid thinking about it doesn't mean that it's objectively dangerous. 


Thank you for your thoughts @hellofriend! It sounds like this is something you've thought about a lot as well Smiley Happy I agree that religion can motivate people to do both harmful and loving things. For me it feels important to distinguish between things that clergy have done and things that the God of this particular religion has asked us to do in scripture. 

I like the idea of thinking of warning signs - I might even make a list. I'm thinking about going to a service at a LGBT-friendly place of worship (it'd be tricky to get there so might not be for a while) so maybe there will be some supportive people there who I could talk to. 


I hope I'm talking about this okay. I don't want to put down anyone's beliefs. If anyone is bothered by how I'm talking please tell me! 


Re: Confused (tw: religion)

You're talking about everything fine @DruidChild Smiley Happy

I'm pretty sure you've always been at least a spiritual person, from what I can remember from your post history, and I think that it's good that you do explore your ideas and wants when it comes to this stuff. I think all of those things you described are large parts of why people enjoy being a part of an organised religion.
I mean, there's also the history of religious control that as much as people involved don't like to admit to is certainly still prevalent today. Things being structured for people can give them a lot of peace of mind, and a system that they can default to.

Also, especially nowadays, it's very much okay to take the parts of the religion that you like and agree with while discounting other parts. This sort of act of belief is a major part of why there are so many more people who would describe themselves as spiritual as opposed to religious nowadays. It's also why so many religions are changing--they're a system that historically does change with the times and people.


Re: Confused (tw: religion)

Hey @DruidChild

I thought I would give you some input from someone who is involved with a religion and explain why I am. 

For starters I grew up in a household where religion was a big part of every day stuff, we always prayed before any family meals and attended services. But I was never forced to become religious it was always my choice and when I made decision I felt at peace about it. It's hard to explain but in my heart I know there is this higher power, I also choose to follow the rules associated with the religion but that's a personal choice. For me it's a big part of who I am but I won't force it on anyone as I know religion is extremely personal and private.

Being religious does shape my decisions and how I live my life but I make sure that I don't judge anyone for not being involved and that it doesn't impact any decisions that will shape others. 

I would talk to your friends about their religions and upbringings to see what they thing, I also think talking to the chaplain would be a great idea and they are always up for debating and chatting about religion too. There are lots of books that cover religion and why people believe what they do which are worth looking at. 

Let me know if you have questions and I will try to answer them the best I can Smiley Happy


Whatever it takes I know I can make it through!

Re: Confused (tw: religion)

Thank you both so much! I really value your input Smiley Very Happy


@Birdeye Yeah ever since I was very young I've been pretty religious and only really stopped practising some form of religion because of my OCD. That's true, I'm sure a lot of people find the control helpful! Personally I don't do well with authority but ritual is good. 

And that totally makes sense about taking the parts you agree with and leaving the parts you don't. Thank you Heart


@ErinsAntics thank you so much for sharing your experience! I don't really have any friends I could talk to, but I do plan on talking to the chaplain when I can. I have been reading some academic articles and stuff that I found on my uni library website which was interesting. 

Thank you again Smiley Happy 


Re: Confused (tw: religion)

Hey @DruidChild, that sounds like a really conflicting decision for a lot of different reasons. It can be so difficult to work your way through questioning faith and second guessing yourself. At the same time, it’s really cool that you’re rediscovering and exploring a part of yourself!
I’ve actually been in a similar boat to you for the past year or two and I have to admit I still haven’t decided whether or not to start going back to church. Compulsive prayer has been a thing that’s come and gone at different times for me and a big part of me questions whether I was ever actually religious at all. That being said though, I don’t think any of those times ever overlapped with when I actually went to church and going was pretty comforting. I don’t know if it was the same for you? I think  @Birdeye ‘s recommendation about talking to your psychologist is really good and I’m glad you feel you can talk to them about it 😊
It sucks though that the LGBT church is so far away! It sounds like an awesome idea if you do manage to get there to talk to people there about interpreting scripture, I bet they’ve heard every argument and counter argument under the sun! They might also have felt the same way in the past as you do now and they might have some advice.
This is actually a really interesting topic and it’s been awesome getting other people’s insights 😊

We had a live chat on Accessing Mental Health Support Online! Smiley Very Happy Check it out here! Heart