hi guys. I have wanted to write this post ever since the subject came up at the survivors group that I go to. I also want to say that I completely feel that everyone should be allowed to believe what they want, and it isn't my intention to reject formal religions for everyone, this is just my view because of my circumstances.
As I have said in past posts that my abuser was not only my dad, but also a vicar, and so I was brought up going to church every week, attending all the events etc, but also if I was out with my dad he would have his dog collar on and people would come up to him because of that. there was a different persona in him, a huge Jackal and Hyde, The people of the church saw him as a good man, someone who was always there to help, and to some extent he was like that at home, but then there was the "cleansing me of my evilness" through the sexual abuse he forced on me for over 20 years. Also, he wasn't the only one who abused me, this isn't something that I have been able to talk about, and its still "hazy" although I have always known it happened. All this of cause has had a huge impact on the way I see formal religion, especially Christianity.
In general I avoid religion of any kind like the plague, it is a huge trigger for me. And I am sure that I am not the only one. it is a huge leap to trying to believe that God is good and loves us, to the pain and suffering that is happening in our lives. When I see certain religions on the street (or at the door) I just want to hide, they seem to think (well the ones I have come across) that they can "cure" me by me just joining in with them and believing me. how can I even entertain this idea when in a way its religion (well his religion) that has got me into the position that I am in. One thing I am certain of is that I don't think that people should impose religion on other people, its a persons right to believe what they like, its one of the basis of the western modern democratic world!
I am not saying that age 5 when it started I immediately turned my back on religion. it was in the house I lived in, more than most I guess because of his job, but I found it difficult even then to make sense of it all. even at 25 I was searching for some kind of family (as mine is one massive dysfunctional one) and church can be one. but I cant say I ever believed wholeheartedly (or really a little bit). I always questioned it, and I never had that trust that you need to have in order to believe in something that you cant see, cant feel. All I ever did was just try to be quiet and join in.
there are certain parts of religion that I find the hardest, and that's around language. I cant love and trust in my own father, so when they call God Father, it feels me with fear, as to me Fathers aren't loving, fathers are pain. Also parts of the church service filled me with complete fear, In the church of England it is common place to share the Peace, going round shaking peoples hands or even hugging, it didn't feel at all safe with me.
When I was out with my dad, people in crisis used to come up to him and ask for help (and not always asking for money), and he would be there like a vicar should. i used to hate it, partly as when i was a teenager I was embarrassed, but also I was clearly often in crisis but he caused it, and to him it was my fault.
I know that in Christianity, God gave man free will, and that this can explain that it isn't "God" plan for him to do this, but its very hard for me to believe this, as one of the things that was repeatedly said to me during it that "God wants me to be good, and not of Evil, and God has told him to do this to make me better".
How can a man of the cloth damage their own daughter so much that I have been in and out of psychiatric hospital for the last 10 years as well hundreds of visits (I have lost count) A&E after hurting myself ? to me this shouldn't marry up to one person. I know that there is good and bad in everyone, but in him this was extreme!!
I don't think that I will ever feel safe with formal religion, it has damaged me too much, but now find my peace in nature around me. one of my favourite things to do at night is go for a walk along the seafront near me, its so calm with the sound of the sea and the lights flickering on the water. There can be something so calming about it.