me and jesus

When I was a kid my dad told me that to hate someone or something was to become just like that person or thing. At the time I didn’t think much about it. My capacity for hate developed more or less with my addiction issues. It would be sometime before I realized that the old man had known what he was talking about.

It’s no secret that I’m a recovering alcoholic and addict. I also like to say that I’m a recovering Southern Baptist. My belief in and subsequent rejection of what Scott Peck (The Road Less Traveled) labeled the Monster God didn’t serve me well either before or after I began trying to get sober. (I recently wrote What I Believe, should you be curious where I’m at now, spiritually speaking.)

I’ve been following a couple of posts at de-conversion, My contempt for religious answers to psychological issues and Fundamentalism, Psychotherapy, and De-Conversion. One in particular has spurred me to think back on my own recovery, or spiritual journey if you wish. It has been a long and painful process and probably needn’t have been either. If there’s a difficult or incorrect way to do something, I’m apt to choose it.

It’s not surprising there are scores of people trying to come to terms with their faith or lack thereof. Obviously it’s a huge part of the human condition. Many of us may be hardwired to have stronger faith than others. (See Searching for God in the Brain.) Others probably gravitate towards faith in God for more practical reasons. It’s interesting, and a tremendous struggle for many of us to come to terms with.

For a lot of years I was very angry with God, the Southern Baptists, and Christians in general. I’m naturally rebellious and that doubtlessly played some part in it. People with problems often need something or someone to blame for them. I suspect it’s some sort of defense mechanism that actually does us more harm than good. Even now I catch myself wanting to blame something or somebody when the wheels come off my life. I have to keep reminding myself that blame is for children.

Additionally I think I needed someone or something to blame for my lack of worldly success. I liked to tell myself that if I’d had the chances others had, or if I hadn’t had the stumbling blocks, like my Baptist upbringing, then I’d almost certainly be successful personally, financially, etc. It was a bitter pill for me swallow, but today I know the cream invariably rises to the top. Had I been more intelligent, better looking, more industrious, and not had the glaring problems I’ve had, I might have “amounted to something”.

My disdain for fundamentalist Christians didn’t begin to abate until I was in my mid-30s. By then I’d made such a mess of my life that I had to concede to myself that as ridiculous as they were, I was exponentially more so. Additionally I slowly began to accept what I’d discovered several years earlier – that if other people are responsible for my problems, then I can’t do anything about them (either the problems or the people), but if I am responsible, then I have an outside chance at implementing some change.

Today I realize that the fundamentalist don’t intentionally harm people emotionally. Some of them are just really ignorant and aggressive. Many of them, though, are intelligent, happy, otherwise-sane folks who just happen to believe something most other intelligent adults don’t. Today I prefer to avoid them, but do so with a “not now brother, I must be about my Father’s work” instead of a “fuck you you mental midget ass-wipe”. It’s working out pretty well for me.

5 Responses to “me and jesus”


  1. 1 bottlecappie March 3, 2008 at 11:27 am

    Today I prefer to avoid them, but do so with a “not now brother, I must be about my Father’s work” instead of a “fuck you you mental midget ass-wipe”. It’s working out pretty well for me.

    Ha! I love your blog.

  2. 2 untreatable March 3, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    I had a lady on a forum say that my mental illness was a result of me being possessed which is not exactly helpful advice. Great post.

  3. 3 Rob N. March 3, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    bottlecappie – Thank you. I wish you wrote more but since I’ll probably get bored and quit this soon, I won’t belabor the point.

    untreatable – You’ve become a must read for me. I’m sure you know you’re very smart and talented so I won’t bother gassing you up. I do like your stuff though.

    In one of my Jesus phases I told a hardcore Jesus-freak that I was depressed. He looked at me like I’d just told him I molested little boys. Nothing is supposed to go wrong in that world. Most of the church “leaders” aren’t equipped to deal with much more of a problem than a kid stealing comic books.

    I’ve also run into clowns in the more scientific treatment realms. A masters level sociology or psychology degree qualifies someone about as well to be a therapist as playing video games does one to be a pilot. Lazy, stupid, malicious – my experience has run the gamut with those folks.

    I believe the ability to help someone, emotionally at least, is a talent like the ability to sing, paint, or cut hair. Most people that do it just aren’t very good at it. That’s a shame.

  4. 4 misterbooks March 3, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    Well, dear sir, I have run the gamut on the spiritual realm. Basic background; Mom passed when I was 16, dad got remarried 9 months later, dad moves out, brother and I on our own. Brother kills himself about 7 years ago, dad dies about a year ago. No more family. Thank God for my Wife and kids, and the grace of a God who lets me explore the different paths up the same Mountain.
    In my teen years, called the asshole years by those who knew me, I was anti-christian, very into the occult, and just freaking mean and hateful. But as I matured, and fell, and got back up, and fell again, you know the cycle…I learned alot from the different paths that I studied, and have learned that basically, human comprehision of God is just that. Our small minds trying to take in the whole picture, that we will never understand. We are broken, but there is a God is beyond our brokeness. I do believe in an ultimate love and peace and love in the universe, that calls to us, sometimes with a still small, small, voice.
    Enough and hey, I hope you don’t get bored with this soon, I enjoy our talks.
    Peace,

  5. 5 Rob N. March 3, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    misterbooks Not planning on hanging it up just yet. Was just having some fun with bottlecappie.

    If I had any pride left it would probably bother me that you’ve been through so much more than me and yet have turned out so much better. We’ve both benefited from our “beatings” I guess. It’s a shame it took that, but we’re doing pretty good today.

    I like your ideas on God. Religion is just a framework for us to be able to discuss such ideas. It’s no more a reality than is our understanding of physics or biology, which too are just languages we use to communicate with each other about complex ideas so we can try and make some sense out of all this.

    Anyway, if your mind is made up you ain’t growing and if you ain’t growing you’re dying. For me, today, it’s all about open-mindedness and especially about tolerance. I know I don’t know. And while I don’t know others don’t know, I tend to be suspicious of those that claim to.

    Peace.


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