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#423873 - 01/31/13 07:04 PM CSA - Athiesm, Agnosticism, & Religion.
CloudyFalls Offline

Registered: 07/19/12
Posts: 173
Loc: Ohio
*This thread is about atheists, agnostics, & other non-religious survivor's lives and how they were affected by religion and it's relation with your childhood sexual abuse.

*This IS NOT FOR spirituality discussion. Since my other thread got off topic and moved to the spirituality thread, I am not making this topic in any way spiritual. This is from a NON-religious and NON-spiritual point of view. So if this offends or triggers you, be aware and avoid this thread.

We are a minority, and we were affected by a majority's ideals. Even if you grew up atheist, you've most likely heard condemning or illogical accusations coming from religious individuals. Since I live in USA, even our government is heavily moved by religious conviction. It Does Affect Us. To forum moderators, please do not silence the minority to protect the majority.

I will start by telling my story of how religion affected my childhood sexual abuse:

Growing up I was raised Catholic. I was taught things that made no sense to me, I went to a Catholic school where I was harassed endlessly and treacherously. People in my school constantly harassed atheists, agnostics or non-believers, spewing hateful things like, "You're gonna burn in hell, you're worthless." I was a closet agnostic, and a closet gay (more specifically bi-sexual). Religion in my family helped keep me silent about the incestuous abuse I endured. I believed because of what I was taught that I was the scum of the earth bound to burn in hell for eternity, and that I was a disgrace to my family. I was forced to hold this secret, and I swore from the age of 9 that if anyone figured out what was happening to me, I would kill myself without a doubt. My abuser wasn't a clear cut monster, in my mind he was my best friend & family member. I had to protect him just as I had to protect myself. I can't describe the filth I felt at Catholic school because of my home situation. Sitting through sermons and lessons about how being gay was an abomination. See I thought I was just gay, which I'm not I'm bi-sexual, but that's besides the point. What was happening to me wasn't gay, it was abuse. But Religion only intensified my filth, my guilt, my shame. And of course it intensified my anger at this imaginary God. Some kids cry when they realize Santa Claus isn't real, but when a kid realizes God isn't real? It's the worst feeling in the entire world, because your world is based on that belief. My world was utterly shattered & destroyed at a very young age. Religion was abusive in my past and intensified the effects of my sexual abuse. In particular it gave me an idea that I was forsaken and unforgivable, I was filthy scum and that I was guilty.

That's a tiny summary, I don't fully know how much religion affected my growth, to what extent it damaged and constricted my mind's production. I could go on and on about my history, but really I don't need to write my history, because I know there's others here who feel forsaken by God, who are angry at God. And even more importantly angry for being lied to.

I can't hold it back anymore, the more I try to understand the minds of those who raised me, Catholics & Christians the more I understand they're hypocritical and mailable. They vary from one to another and they use their religion to validate their own personal goals or ideals. They're blasphemers. And before you take offense, consider this, how can I offend you if your BOOKS that you believe in intrinsically offend me. You do not poke a bear and expect not to get attacked. It's either stupid, ignorant, or nieve to think your religion is not going to provoke a conflict. THEY JUST CAN'T BE DISCUSSED WITHOUT OFFENSE, so I'm not going to strive for the impossible anymore, because you know what, I can't. I will not be silent about how much religion has hurt me.

So I AM going to say what I think about religion.

I think any religion that condemns a group of people is wrong. (Christianity for example condemns those who don't believe Jesus is the son of God)

I think it's cruel to raise a child into believing a religion without letting them grow old enough to make their own choice.

I think religion can do more harm than good in various instances. (Both inwardly and outwardly)

I don't think I can be around religious people anymore, I will not tolerate someone who has the audacity to say I will burn in hell, for ANY reason, especially a whimsical one like not believing in something or for being born a certain way. It is ABUSIVE, and it may mean cutting family ties for me, and letting go of friendships.

And lastly, WHERE IN THE FUCK WAS GOD FOR ME WHEN I WAS BEING RAPED FOR 12 YEARS? The truth is some people DON'T make it, SOME PEOPLE DIE, SOME PEOPLE KILL THEMSELVES, SOME PEOPLE NEVER RECOVER. I DO NOT and will NEVER believe in a God who actively lets that happen. I do not believe in a God that works his hands to mold the human race. And I would NEVER condemn a person for not believing what I believe in, never. But I will condemn a person who condemns others for such reasons, because that is intrinsically bad, negative, and wrong.

*Lastly, I'm not talking about peaceful religions, which there are some out there. For example Buddhism & Jainism. (Although arguably philosophies and not religions)

So I ask you again my fellow atheists, agnostics, & other non-religious survivors, how did religion play a role in your childhood sexual abuse and how does it make you feel?
"The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it." - Albert Einstein

#423877 - 01/31/13 07:30 PM Re: CSA - Athiesm, Agnosticism, & Religion. [Re: CloudyFalls]
Candu Offline

Registered: 07/01/12
Posts: 312
Loc: Canada
I think this is much better than your previous post (that got moved).

I don't know if my CSA caused me to lose my religion. I don't have the strong feelings about it that you do but I was raised a Lutheran and I don't recall that there was the negativity that you experienced. I'm not gay or bi so might not have thought about it but who knows when you can't remember. I really have little memory of that time of my life. Almost none.

Religion is not a concern for me. If someone claims I will rot in Hell then I really don't give a shit. There opinion. I doubt if they are right. We will see in the end. But I don't believe there is an end.

Do I think there can't be a higher power(s)? No. Just that that it does not concern me.

I think religion has it's good and bad points. But again, I'm not concerned about it from a personal level. I am just trying to get through life the best way I can. I think that having some form of spirituality would help CSA survivors as long as there are no significant conflicts to add additional stress. It just doesn't work for me at this time (if ever).

Edited by Candu (01/31/13 08:00 PM)

#423901 - 01/31/13 11:04 PM Re: CSA - Athiesm, Agnosticism, & Religion. [Re: CloudyFalls]
Jwmcd2 Offline

Registered: 10/04/12
Posts: 110
Finally, another person here that at least seems how it was used as a tool.

Two of my abusers were quite religious. One played loud religious music during the event. The other used Christian points to control me and my actions-- make me more compliant.

On a side note, I was raised in a very fundamental group of Christians and I am now agnostic if not atheistic. Some of the things taught there showed me that my body was evil, sinful, or otherwise wrong. Lots of factors. Even some of the guilt from the csa I'd have to attribute to the church. Maybe a big majority.

As a disclaimer, I don't have a problem with people worshiping-- just please stop judging me and telling me how im wrong.

#423904 - 01/31/13 11:37 PM Re: CSA - Athiesm, Agnosticism, & Religion. [Re: CloudyFalls]
Dusty Boy Offline

Registered: 11/15/08
Posts: 280
Loc: Australia

I share similar beliefs. I was sent to Sunday school as a child I was the only child that did not have my parents there, now as an adult I see that I was on the outer by both adults and kids. As a child suffering many abuse patterns I didn't think this was unusual. When I started recovery and looking into isolation Sunday school became a part of that pattern.
I lived next to a catholic family and the son 1yr older started school aged 5, I was 4 when he started to tell me I was not going to heaven, I was going to hell and that god did not love me because I was not a catholic. I got at least one or more of these taunts daily as he was the only boy that I could play with, when I started school I made other friends so I did not have to put up with his shit daily but whenever he saw me he would spew forth some guilt comment that I was not going to heaven ect. I did not believe him but the feelings of not being worthy due to the CSA an other abuse it did have an impact, it was another layer of abuse.


#423907 - 02/01/13 12:14 AM Re: CSA - Athiesm, Agnosticism, & Religion. [Re: CloudyFalls]
SoccerStar Offline

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 929
I'm Jewish and was raised secular / agnostic. Cultural, but not "religious."

As for the role of religion in abuse....

Well, the man who raped me in 1986, I later unearthed, was born in Germany in 1920.

If he was a former Nazi or supporter (anyone who gave the Hitler salute counts, and all of them, Wehrmacht soldiers, Luftwaffe pilots, bureau clerks, jeep drivers, butchers bakers and candlestick makers, were allowed to immigrate legally to the U.S. except for members of the SS), then it's an indescribable existential terror that most people would probably sooner liken to medieval tales of being attacked by an incubus or a witch. Severely messes with me to the point that I tell sick jokes about it to keep from screaming.

If he was a German Jew who got out in time or survived the camps, that's got religious awfulness involved too because throughout 14 years of Hebrew school we were all sure taught those people were second only to angels. We'd take field trips to visit them, there would be assemblies to hear one speak. 12-year-olds would be carted in to clean their houses or just keep them company.

Slightly offtopic: man-boy rape in the camps is a VERY well-kept secret, both accidentally (because typically both perp and victim were killed) and on purpose (because people find it unspeakable to accuse those going through that of being able to do something THAT bad - worse than stealing shoes or cigarettes.) Some victims have "survivor guilt," the perps went to the ovens and they don't want to speak ill of someone who died the exact same way they themselves almost did. I've independently come across 3 survivor case studies of what happens when you put 20,000 males age 14-40 in prison and take away all of their families, all law, and the older ones catch on quick they're about to be killed anyway. 2 stories were just by happenstance during 2 different history projects in different years of high school / college. Same MO: a man pounces on a boy in the barracks, shoves food in his mouth, and takes what he wants. In both cases the adult survivors read as though rueful but not too mad - they were happy to have food, their bodies were numb and wooden and detached enough already, and it was just one more damn thing on the list. The 3rd case came up years earlier, in Hebrew school by accident, we were maybe 13. We were watching a docu about those years and a younger survivor started telling a story that was obviously going to end as I'd described above. The rabbi SPRINTED from the back of the room to hit fastforward on the VCR, we didn't actually hear it. This was after we'd been allowed to watch that same video's footage of bulldozers dumping mountains of corpses into pits, and also a series of still photos of grinning SS officers crushing a boy's (5-6yo) spine with a metal rod; I still remember in the last picture he was dead with blood coming out of his mouth. But to hear that a martyred Holocaust victim could have done something severely bad, that a Jew would do that to another Jew in those circumstances - that was unthinkable, forbidden, banned. Fastforwarded.

And that's the role of religion as it played into my exposure to sexual abuse.

Edited by SoccerStar (02/01/13 12:21 AM)
My story

"Don't think it hasn't been a little slice of Heaven just because it hasn't!" --Bugs Bunny

#423908 - 02/01/13 12:15 AM Re: CSA - Athiesm, Agnosticism, & Religion. [Re: CloudyFalls]
Suwanee Offline
Chat Moderator

Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 1345
This is a sensitive topic in my line of work because I deal with elected officials. Daily.

Public profession of non-mainstream vanilla beliefs about anything religious is a definite CLM...or career-limiting move. That in itself speaks volumes about where we are right now.

I've got this life
And the will to show
I will always be
Better than before

#423917 - 02/01/13 01:26 AM Re: CSA - Athiesm, Agnosticism, & Religion. [Re: CloudyFalls]
cosmos Offline

Registered: 11/12/12
Posts: 191
Loc: Puget Sound
I remember being in church with my parents on a Sunday I was six, Iím not sure what happened exactly but I remember saying something to the effect of Ē I hoped all the churches burned downĒ; pretty bold statement from a six year-old, my dad just told me to shut up. I always remembered this; I never knew where my anger had come from towards god/religion. Fast-forward to remembering my abuse and the only time I ever talked with anyone about it I would have been 4 I was in the kitchen of my grandmotherís house, my dad said something like gods will I was abused; how can you tell your 4 year-old son itís gods will your grandmothers husband raped him; the only time in my life when I stood up to my dad I more or less told him to eff off; needless to say he beat the shit out of me. I was raised catholic even went to church with my cousins, grandmother and her sister every morning, later went to Sunday school every week, and even went to catholic school for the 4th-7th grades. Luckily for me after confirmation my dad accepted that I was ďadultĒ in the catholic church. Iíve never been in a church since, with no plans on returning. See I did learn something from it though 2 things; Jesus was a pretty radical revolutionary at the time saying he was god; previously that was reserved for the rich and powerful; pretty drastic stuff, but more importantly I was able to see the hypocrisy of religion, how the followers all speak out of both sides of their mouth and with a forked tongue. How a follower of Jesus could even think murder in any form is anything but the most evil thing man can do to another is beyond me; donít they even read what he said? Sorry but thatís the bottom line for me, itís the only thing thatís really black and white in this world, hurting others is wrong, you cannot rationalize hurting anyone ever, cause even in self-defense you have a choice, you have the choice to live by your ideals ďperfect idealsĒ not some tripe put together by men in the desert doing drugs that says its ok to kill and main and slaughter; theyíre savages right, sorry Iíll have none of this religious shit, ever, the ignorance they breed in the world revolts me, itís the ignorance that forces good men to kill each other and for what; another manís money and power, donít even tell me any religion on this planet is any different they are all the same, under the right social conditions they will do what they need to do to follow the needs of the moneyed elite; cause if they donít then the leaders will just get a new one. What did king Henry do, created the church of England, if that doesnít show the religious hypocrisy in the world thatís always existed Iíve got a tunnel I can sell you in Manhattan, Iíll get you a good price too! Or Akhenaten in Egypt, he renounced all the gods and decided Ra was the man, again hypocrisy, let the believers believe, let them believe in an afterlife, whatever, there are only 2 truths on this planet, life and death, nothing else, everything else is either bs or window dressing, cause if there was really a god heíd make sure religion as we know it would be punished by banishment from the rest of us. See it also brings into focus the fact that typically those in religion are not in it for the right reasons, not to help others, not to help the world become a better place, but power, how else can they say what they say, the same dead horse over and over again, certain people are les then people because they are this or that, but basically not good at being flowers of whatever twisted dogma theyíre pimping, they get off like our perps got off on us!

Sorry if I offend; blind ignorance is the root and cause of every major problem on this planet, until we end it weíll continue to let shit happen and get screwed over by those in power; imho.

"it has never yet been discovered how to make man unknow his knowledge, or unthink his thoughts"

T. Paine

#423918 - 02/01/13 01:46 AM Re: CSA - Athiesm, Agnosticism, & Religion. [Re: CloudyFalls]
traveler Offline

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 4287
Loc: resettling in NE Ohio
I agree with much of what has been said above. Where I differ is that I am not atheist or agnostic. Iím not sure why Ė I certainly have enough history that would predictably lead me to that end.

I find the discussion of religion produces uneasiness for me at the best of times, but when linked to CSA it is even more troubling. that is why i have stayed out of the discussion until now. I donít fit neatly into one category or another. I am not an agnostic or atheist Ė not am I a member of a major church or denomination. I am afraid that anti-religious survivors may see me as part of the enemy. But I also know Ė and am gratified by the fact Ė that traditional religious people would see my ideas and beliefs as nonconformist, radical heresy! Nuf said on that! I am not going into what I believe.

What I do know is that religious abuse was a BIG part of my childhood, youth and younger adulthood. Not that there was CSA at the hands of religious leaders or anything directly connected between SA and church. The one exception was the step-dad who was a very religious person and sometimes justified his actions with religious excuses Ė discipline or punishments that crossed the line into physical or sekual abuse. But the emotional and psychological fall-out from ALL kinds of abuse Ė verbal, emotional, physical, sekual and spiritual - has been so insidious and pervasive, that I have a very hard time distinguishing which of my malfunctions are the result of which type of abuse. It ALL went into the blender with me and now it canít be separated. I have spent most of my life feeling like the lowest of the low. Donít know how much of that is from society in general and how much from religion. Only difference I can see is church calls it ďsin and guiltĒ and culture calls it ďabnormal and lacking self-esteem.Ē

I could go on and on about the abuses of various specific religions, churches and cults I have been involved in. i was desperately searching for something and looked everywhere that seemed promising. it was repeatedly a kind of spiritual version of acting out or a spiritual addiction or self-imposed re-victimization. Some of the experiences were just short of Jim Jones and drinking the Kool-ade. I know I put myself in some bad situations where I blame myself for what happened to me. In some sense, I brought much of the abuse upon myself. Sound familiar?

Strangely, I still believeÖ I have spent countless hours trying to disentangle the influences of religions and society or culture from the essentials of what I believe about spiritual reality and truth. Donít know if I am stubborn, stupid, or what Ė but somehow that tenacity of belief in someone or something greater has helped me in spite of all the negative effects of churches, religions, clergy and fellow-adherents to specific dogmas and doctrines.

I guess what Iím saying is that many of us Ė those who still hold on to some vestiges of faith Ė as well as those who perhaps justifiably have rejected it Ė have been injured by evil masquerading as good Ė too often behind a religious mask or in a church setting. The pain and other reactions are understandable - whichever direction it takes us. We all need to recognize that.


Edited by traveler (02/01/13 01:51 AM)
How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, ‚ÄúViolence!‚ÄĚ but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?...
Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails....
Habakkuk 1:2-3

#423926 - 02/01/13 02:15 AM Re: CSA - Athiesm, Agnosticism, & Religion. [Re: CloudyFalls]
cosmos Offline

Registered: 11/12/12
Posts: 191
Loc: Puget Sound
Lee I have faith just not in a supreme being or anything like that, let alone any form of religion. I have faith in myself 1st and only, I have to, Iíve never been able to trust anyone, heck even on a certain level I donít trust my wife of 27 years, but I do know Iíll be there, whenever everyone else is gone Iíll be there, forever alone thatís how I feel, Iím finally ok with it. Without going into detail Iíve had many moments in my life that have forced me to reconcile my faith to me; I have to, thereís no one else just me. It just blows my mind how everyone here talks of therapy being the answer or meds or whatever, see I know Iím a bit paranoid, I just canít see it, I canít see how you can trust, how you can really believe what another man says about anything, for me the abuse was just the opening of a door of a lifelong of betrayals from my parents, even now my mom still tries to destroy me, how can I trust anyone, let alone anything I canít see or hear. My number of near-death experiences make the 9-lives of cats look small, drugs, car accidents, whatever, its brought me to faith, faith in the world, not the human world but the world of the universe, the atom, the concrete. Iíve been to the center of my mind; Iíve seen yours too, Iíve seen everyoneís, all our little petty problems, but unlike the blind followers, I know no god will ever save any of us ever, thatís not what a real god would do, its anthropomorphizing something that is neither like us or would have any reason to directly help us, sorry, anything else just flies in the face of reason and understanding of ourselves as animals on this fantastic little world we live on.

"it has never yet been discovered how to make man unknow his knowledge, or unthink his thoughts"

T. Paine


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