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Once Free, Now Afraid

By Sam ~

I'm just wondering if someone knows what I'm going through, if someone understands. If someone else has suffered through the hell of obsessive anxiety and religion. I am so scared, I don't want to go back but I'm starting to think I might have to...

Hey, I've considered myself to be agnostic since a little under a year ago, although i didn't stop going of church until about four months ago. I was very happy with my new life and felt so much more clear headed and free. Initially i drifted away from Christianity because of the anxiety which came with it. I was raised pentecostal for about the first 14 years of my life, the next four were in the same church, however it became a little bit more lose/more about a "relationship." I was raised on fire and brimstone, speaking in tongues, believing the world was a dangerous and evil place, full of temptation and sinners seeking to destroy me/drag me down. Later, when my church shifted towards a more modern perspective, I went to a Christian rock concert (I was extremely uncomfortable because I'd been told/convinced rock was all satanic/evil). I loved it: I bought into a loving Jesus; I bought that he loved me; I bought that he could heal my depression (which was probably exacerbated by Pentecostalism to begin with); and indeed the hope made me feel better for a time. I started therapy about two years ago. When I started college (about seven months ago) I was already drifting away, and then I studied cultural anthropology and Western Civilization. When I learned about Zoroastrianism and the similarities between religion, I stopped believing in the Christian concept of God/god entirely, or at least I acknowledged I couldn't know who had "the truth" about God/the supernatural.

Later in my second quarter I started learning more about western civilization and the history of the original church along with physical/biological anthropology. Evolution made a lot of sense to me (I'd already learned a little about it in high school, but not too much), and I began to feel even better, like we were all made of the same stuff. We humans were just another part of nature -- we weren't completely separate from every animals. At first I was a little upset by the idea that humans weren't so special, but I saw how monkeys and apes had the compassion thought to be exclusive to humanity, and the evidence for evolution, and I was convinced.

I'm so scared, I just want to know I'm not the only one. However late in the quarter (like two months ago) my parents and I met with my aunt for lunch. I had no idea she was such a zealous "born again" Christian, I just thought she was a "normal Christian." Well when she found out Ii wasn't a Christian the shit hit the fan. I got into a two-hour long argument about the Bible and evolution. She told me about a Mount St Helens carbon dating error which made me doubt a little. Also she brought forth some old wounds/fears such as a "New World Order" and scientific conspiracy and an agenda against creationists/the Bible. By the end I was miserable, because I started doubting myself/being afraid she might be right. Later on I realized it was just the heat of the moment, but that experience really set my doubts going. I've been diagnosed with clinical depression for about 3-4 years.

It's only in the last few months that I tried a different anti-depressant and been diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder (pure obsessive). Anyways, the last month has been full of me fighting the fears that Christians might be right, or at least the gloom and doom ones. I started looking a lot into Bible verses and debunking, but also some of the "Creationist Science" stuff. Even though I found out a lot of it was bogus, it still set me to doubting myself even more. Ever since I've been looking at this stuff non-stop, I've been bouncing back between confidence that it was all just bull crap and really being afraid they were right. I couldn't stop.....

Now I'm seriously scared....I'm terrified that that they're right and that I'll start believing all the stuff I used to. I'm so afraid that creationists are right and that I'll start having to be all strict and to abandon some of the best friends I've ever had because they're not "really Christians" and because of what interests we share. I'm also afraid my aunt is right about college and how it's bad to learn about all this stuff even though I loved it... I'm so scared that I'll have to be like... them. I just want to be me, but if they're right, or I start believing it, I won't be able to feel good about myself or enjoy video games or reading or thinking for myself... I'm so scared they're right and I'll have to go back to that or that I'll start feeling like they were right all along and forget why I left. I'm so scared, but now i think they might be right after all.

Has anyone else had these fears re-arise? or had an experience like this? I'm so scared, I just want to know I'm not the only one...


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