Breaking up with Jesus
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07-09-2011, 03:47 PM
Breaking up with Jesus
As I’ve moved away from religion, I’ve been finding a few strings hard to cut.

I’m hoping someone else here has experienced this, or can kind of help me get beyond it. Maybe it’s better left for a therapist, but hey…if I can think this out with a little help AND save money? Awesome.

The biggest issue I’ve been facing is how to move away from the “personal relationship with Jesus.” Growing up, I had a clear idea in my head of who Jesus was and wasn’t to me. Jesus was like the caring and loving dad that I didn’t have. I honestly felt like Jesus was a far away friend that I would “call” in my head when I needed help or comfort. The empty feeling I had waiting for that help or comfort was something I managed to stuff away and make up for it by trying to discern whether or not the thoughts in my head came from me or from Jesus. Regardless, I grew up truly loving Jesus and thankful to him for being on my side.

Then I grew up and Jesus started becoming more of an abstract concept of love and acceptance and forgiveness rather than an actual person that I could talk to. Whatever he morphed into as I moved into adulthood, I still maintained feelings for him like that of a daughter to a father. (And at the same time, fought to stuff down my feelings that I wasn’t really getting anything back from Jesus like everyone said I would. It was confusing.)

Now that I’ve started coming out of religion, slowly reading and listening my way out, I realize that I still feel intensely and emotionally connected to this “person” of Jesus. Intellectually, I'm finding it really easy to come down to earth, but emotionally…I’m still up in the air…clinging desperately to this figure that I came to idolize as the only one who can truly love me.

Has anyone else who has come out of religion experienced something like this? What did you do to move beyond it?

I will say that, for one, I am throwing myself into caring and loving for other people in a way that I was never taught to do as a child because…well…caring and loving Jesus was more important. I’m in a really good relationship right now, and I feel like I’m dry earth soaking up the rain. Affection, giving and receiving, has been most healing. (And sad because I wasted so many years giving affection to and not getting from a guy made up in my head)

Still, my question stands. I’d love to hear how you broke up with Jesus, what your thought processes were.

We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers.

- Carl Sagan
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07-09-2011, 04:34 PM
RE: Breaking up with Jesus
(07-09-2011 03:47 PM)zaika Wrote:  As I’ve moved away from religion, I’ve been finding a few strings hard to cut.

I’m hoping someone else here has experienced this, or can kind of help me get beyond it. Maybe it’s better left for a therapist, but hey…if I can think this out with a little help AND save money? Awesome.

The biggest issue I’ve been facing is how to move away from the “personal relationship with Jesus.” Growing up, I had a clear idea in my head of who Jesus was and wasn’t to me. Jesus was like the caring and loving dad that I didn’t have. I honestly felt like Jesus was a far away friend that I would “call” in my head when I needed help or comfort. The empty feeling I had waiting for that help or comfort was something I managed to stuff away and make up for it by trying to discern whether or not the thoughts in my head came from me or from Jesus. Regardless, I grew up truly loving Jesus and thankful to him for being on my side.

Then I grew up and Jesus started becoming more of an abstract concept of love and acceptance and forgiveness rather than an actual person that I could talk to. Whatever he morphed into as I moved into adulthood, I still maintained feelings for him like that of a daughter to a father. (And at the same time, fought to stuff down my feelings that I wasn’t really getting anything back from Jesus like everyone said I would. It was confusing.)

Now that I’ve started coming out of religion, slowly reading and listening my way out, I realize that I still feel intensely and emotionally connected to this “person” of Jesus. Intellectually, I'm finding it really easy to come down to earth, but emotionally…I’m still up in the air…clinging desperately to this figure that I came to idolize as the only one who can truly love me.

Has anyone else who has come out of religion experienced something like this? What did you do to move beyond it?

I will say that, for one, I am throwing myself into caring and loving for other people in a way that I was never taught to do as a child because…well…caring and loving Jesus was more important. I’m in a really good relationship right now, and I feel like I’m dry earth soaking up the rain. Affection, giving and receiving, has been most healing. (And sad because I wasted so many years giving affection to and not getting from a guy made up in my head)

Still, my question stands. I’d love to hear how you broke up with Jesus, what your thought processes were.

For me it was one step at a time - first the personal god image left, then for a while i still believed in the concept of god, just than he didn't really care about us on a personal level, then that to went. You need to find what's important to you, family and friends, etc. For me too its helping other women find their place in the world, away from the confines of religion. Loving others is a good way to heal Smile.

I want for myself what I want for every women, absolute equality. Agnes Macphail
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07-09-2011, 06:18 PM
RE: Breaking up with Jesus
Zaika,

I remember very well hearing the calm still voice in my head and feeling I was best friends with the creator of the universe. As a young minister I remember hearing whole sermons spoken in my head that I later delivered to congregations, usually to loud approval and acclaim.

Once I realized that the god I believed in did not exist I also realized that the messages and sermons I was receiving were in fact coming from me, my own mind. You have to realize the same thing, that feeling you were feeling, that personal relationship you felt was with yourself, and you truly never will leave you or forsake you (unless you go insane. LOL!)

Caring for and loving Jesus may have felt important at the time, but is was actually nothing more than self-delusion. Contacting and interacting with real people is immensely more valuable.

More importantly, as an atheist I now know that while Christianity taught me to internalize and pray, now I know that taking action is far better. You are already doing what I would advise you to do, form relationships with actual people and ignore the imaginary ones. For me that has been enough.

“There is no sin except stupidity.” Oscar Wilde
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07-09-2011, 09:38 PM
RE: Breaking up with Jesus
That voice in your head, that "person" of Jesus, was YOU all along. Have faith in yourself, explore yourself. Any strength or purpose or comfort you found from "Jesus" came from you. You can learn to depend on yourself, and draw your strength from within.

My reason for being is to serve as a cat cushion. That is good enough for me. Wink
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07-09-2011, 09:51 PM
RE: Breaking up with Jesus
Thank you for your replies so far.

I like knowing that all those thoughts and feelings that I once attributed to Jesus were really just me. It gives me reason to believe that I'm smarter than I thought. Wink I haven't gotten this far in life by sitting back on my heels and hoping Jesus would carry me. LOL

What's a bit fucked up is how children in Christian homes are taught to doubt their voice, or deny that the voice is their own...not from an imaginary friend. I'm actually quite upset about that. How damaging it is to be scared into doubting yourself, and renaming your intellect as an outside entity.

Ugh.

We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers.

- Carl Sagan
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07-09-2011, 11:08 PM (This post was last modified: 07-09-2011 11:41 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Breaking up with Jesus
I never broke up with Jesus, I just dismissed Christianity, some 35 years ago. Jesus is just alright with me.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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08-09-2011, 04:20 AM
RE: Breaking up with Jesus
(07-09-2011 09:38 PM)trillium13 Wrote:  That voice in your head, that "person" of Jesus, was YOU all along. Have faith in yourself, explore yourself. Any strength or purpose or comfort you found from "Jesus" came from you. You can learn to depend on yourself, and draw your strength from within.

This is the answer I was going to give............damn you trillium, get out of my head Big Grin

For no matter how much I use these symbols, to describe symptoms of my existence.
You are your own emphasis.
So I say nothing.

-Bemore.
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08-09-2011, 05:20 AM (This post was last modified: 08-09-2011 03:50 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Breaking up with Jesus
(08-09-2011 04:20 AM)bemore Wrote:  
(07-09-2011 09:38 PM)trillium13 Wrote:  That voice in your head, that "person" of Jesus, was YOU all along. Have faith in yourself, explore yourself. Any strength or purpose or comfort you found from "Jesus" came from you. You can learn to depend on yourself, and draw your strength from within.

This is the answer I was going to give............damn you trillium, get out of my head Big Grin

Hi Zaika, I've never had a good personal relationship with Jesus, but I have helped many patients who have suffered because they have. I would highly recommend spending only a few dollars and downloading Marlene Winnell's excellent book "Leaving the Fold" from her website http://www.marlenewinell.net/

Have a look at my website http://www.markfulton.org/the-psychologi...ristianity and nontheocrat's http://unfundy.com/home.html

Please realise that your ex imaginary friend Jesus is like a cigarette. He may have given you given you some temporary comfort but in the long run was doing you way more harm than good. Congratulations on getting out. You are surrounded by real, not imaginary, friends now, and we will answer you back. Regards, Mark
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08-09-2011, 09:12 AM (This post was last modified: 08-09-2011 09:17 AM by Peterkin.)
RE: Breaking up with Jesus
Oddly enough, my rejection of christianity began with disappointment in Jesus. I had been told all the same kinds of things about him, had the pretty gilded pictures of this handsome, hirsute young man with a lamb, with pretty (European) children clustered around his knee - you know the kind of thing.
And then, reading the bible on my own, i came across the passage where he was hungry and it was not the season of fruit, so he cursed the fig tree. I might have forgiven him that little tantrum, but then he sent some guy's daemons into a herd of pigs and drove them off a cliff. In cold blood.

This is god-like behaviour, exactly the kind of thing that turned me against Jehovah and the Greek gods. Treating plants and animals as if they were matter, material, nothing more. That's not love; that's arrogance and abuse of power. Jesus, who was supposedly made flesh to be with and among us, sided with the gods. He's their friend, not ours.

For me, it came down to sides, and i stuck with the small against the powerful, with the creatures against the gods, with the marsh-birds against the oil company, with the caribou against the hydro dam.

You may have different priorities and emotional attachments. Jesus also denied his family in front of their neighbours, and ... Well, it's 50 years since i read that book at all closely. You probably have plenty of examples that stuck in your craw. We were right to break up with him - he could be a real jerk!

It's good to have inspiration, a hero, someone you can draw on for courage. Only, be careful not to replace him with another love who will turn out to be just as unreliable. Ralph Nader might be okay; not Chris Hitchens. For me, at 13-14, it was Farley Mowat and wolves, Konrad Lorenz and jackdaws. You find the figure - live, dead, literary or cinematic, it doesn't matter - who best represents and advocates for whatever is nearest you heart, whatever most sincerely commands your loyalty.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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08-09-2011, 12:23 PM
RE: Breaking up with Jesus
Just give Jesus the old "it's not you, it's me". He'll go for that.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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