22 comments on “God, the Ultimate Flying Monkey

  1. Kudos, man. It’s not easy to stand up and “come out” with those kind of views. Especially with the backlash / arguments you will likely have to endure, even here.

    Doubtless, there will be people posting stuff like “don’t blame God for what your parents did”, and other crap like that. All I can say is they can’t read your mind – only you can. I’ve heard that kind of junk myself.

    Anyways, I agree with you 100%. It’s amazing how similar our experiences were in a lot of ways. I was a charismatic Christian who TOTALLY believed the Bible, prayed every day, believed, and tried to get others saved. It was in my 20’s that I started questioning things, and am now a happy atheist!

    If my past Christian self knew what I would turn out to be 20 years later, I’m sure he would have been horrified! LOL 🙂

    Great post! Best wishes to you!

    • Thanks Clint!

      Honestly, I don’t blame God for the what my parents did. It’s not God’s fault that my parents chose to misconstrue his intent and message to serve their selfish purposes. It’s not God’s fault that my parents chose to use his name in vain to systematically destroy me as a person. God had nothing to do with my mother putting me in a diaper at age 7 and humiliating me. God was convenient. Using God as a means to justify abuse invokes a world where nothing can be substantiated and nothing can be refuted. It’s a world of emotional beliefs. A person can believe anything they want, and then they can treat those beliefs as if they were reality, whether they are true or not.

      For a few years after high school, I stopped going to church altogether. I then chose to get back into church about the time of my first marriage and attended quite regularly for about the next 10 years. I then left at the time of my first divorce, since I was told that I was going to hell for divorcing my then wife. I haven’t been to church other than weddings / funerals since.

      I don’t doubt I may receive some backlash for this post. Honestly, that’s OK, I expect it. Many people that I’ve known that are very conservative in their spiritual beliefs can’t stand someone attempting to examine their beliefs. They have pressed the ‘I believe’ button and it can’t be unpressed.

      Thanks as always for your comments, Clint, and best wishes on your healing journey!

      Stephen

  2. Just a thought… I worked for a county prosecutor some years ago. In my work, I met social workers, therapists and others who evaluated and recommended in cases of child abuse, particularly child sexual abuse. In cases where a family were members of these kind of “conservative” Christian churches, a red flag immediately went up.

    You sense the thought control and irresistablilty (sp) of such rigid teachings and threats of hell fire. All kinds of evil find hiding places in it, especially in victimizing children and other naiive persons.

    I think most Christian churches are good places, but they are full of people, and people are imperfect. If a person finds himself in a church community that’s balanced and not running amuck with dogma it’s a good thing. I’m not a joiner myself, but I like to think that Christ’s message was about love and relationship with the spirit and man.

    Very individual and personal, this religious stuff. Maybe explains all the churches, synagogues, ashrams, etc.

    They can do a great deal of good as well as a great deal of harm. Who judges for us when we are vulnerable (as children are)?

    • Hi Denise,

      That’s a very relevant story about your work for the county prosecutor. The things that go on behind closed doors in some of the more conservative christian groups is truly appalling, and I can see how it would be viewed as a red flag in such circumstances.

      I have a neighbor that was raised in the same church that I was and is still a member. Her husband would sexually molest her daughter. She knew it. She stayed with him. She didn’t stop it. In her church (my old church) you go to hell if you get divorced. So in order to gain salvation, she turned a blind eye to her husband sexually molesting her own daughter. Sick. Very sick. Her husband eventually committed suicide. She should have shot the bastard herself!

      Yes, the thought control is very strong. It’s near cultish. You are told how to think, how not to think, how to think about others, how to feel, how to exist. All in the name of ‘God’. This has been going on for as long as religion has existed. We may not have the Spanish Inquisition or the Salem witch trials these days, but the same mindset still abounds.

      I agree, religion can do a great deal of good as well as a great deal of harm. Unfortunately I feel that the harm that is done in the name of religion is often overlooked and swept under the carpet. Think about the thousands of children that were molested at the hands of a priest? All this was swept under the carpet for hundreds if not thousands of years. It’s all about the image of the church after all… disgusting.

      Thanks as always for your comments, Denise, and best wishes on your healing journey!

      Stephen

      • Yes, Denise, I do believe it to be narcissism.

        Religion has a ton to do with image and many of the tenets of religion are highly narcissistic. Religion and narcissism make excellent comrades. The “do it my way or be damned” message is quite similar to how a narcissist in a relationship will angrily threaten their victim to get them to do their bidding. The ramifications of not doing it the ‘right’ way are so severe that the victim will do whatever it takes to not bring those ramifications to fruition. No one wants to go to hell, whether that be a religious hell or their own personal hell in highly dysfunctional relationship.

        Sometimes the best approach is no contact, even when it come to people’s twisted views of God.

        Stephen

  3. Awesome post! I remember being constantly confused by the hypocrisy and contradictions… And if God the Father was anything like MY father then I wanted NO part of the whole thing!

    Funny thing is – as soon as us kids were all out of the house my parents no longer needed to attend church? There were times as a child that I was sick, but that wasn’t an acceptable excuse to miss Sunday services. Yet – now they just “don’t feel like going through the trouble” of attending. HA! And if I was the one to point out that church attendance doesn’t automatically make you a “good” person then I was berated for being on a slipperly slope to Hell. Though now that is entirely THEIR idea…

    I was raised in a Protestant household – that looked down upon lots of other religions, too. Married someone that was raised Catholic. Hell do we have a lot of built-in religious guilt in our house! LOL. Happy now to ignore most of that gobbledygook. And do what makes us happy and productive.

    Thanks for the post! Looking forward to (hopefully) a lively but not mean-spirited discussion about this one.

    • Hi Megan!

      How are you? I haven’t heard from you in a while. I hope things are well.

      Yes, the hypocrisy and contradiction in organized religion is truly mind boggling. Story after story. Again and again. I wonder how people can fully believe it all. I would imagine that they just need to press the “I Believe” button and accept all the stuff that makes no sense, because if they start to think about any of it logically they would never be able to stop questioning it all.

      That is wild that your parents stopped going to church after all the kids left home. Incredible! It shows just how much it truly meant to them. It was all a show. They had to raise their kids ‘right’, which meant taking them to church. Now that you were gone, they didn’t have to worry about such silliness any longer. Hypocritical, to say the least.

      How dare you point out that not going to church doesn’t mean you automatically go to hell? I bet that caught you a little hell in the process 🙂

      Ooooh.. a protestant girl that married a catholic boy? That had to create some mutual consternation in your families! I have a very long and sordid tale about dating a catholic girl when I was a senior in high school. It would make a great Shakespearian tragedy. Someday I’ll share it on this blog.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Megan, and best wishes on your healing journey!

      Stephen

  4. Stephen,
    I attended a middle of the road southern baptist church growing up that for the most part had correct theology. My Narc didn’t use God as a tool against me, but what I saw over and over again was hypocrisy that kept me confused. My Narc was complaining once about a teenage girl in our church who’s mother had died when she was young, and was being raised by a single dad and two older brothers. The complaining was about her appearance and how the young girl needed to be more presentable and wear makeup. It angers me to this day, because to me the Christian thing to do would have been to take the young girl to a makeup counter for tips or something of that nature. Scenarios like this weigh heavy on the mind of a kid who loves the Narc, who’s task is trying to learn right from wrong anddo the right thing.

    • Hi Al,

      I’m happy to hear that your narcissist didn’t use God as a weapon against you. That’s definitely a good thing! I’m sure she had her own methods. Every narcissist uses slightly different tactics, that all are in many ways the same and produce the same effect.

      The story about the girl in your church is heartbreaking. The poor girl grew up without a mother and I would imagine had very little female influence in her life growing up with her dad and two older brothers. For your mother to complain about her appearance is truly horrible. Maybe she didn’t want to wear makeup? Maybe she was fine with how she looked? You’re right, the ‘Christian’ thing to do would be to offer her help. Offer to take her shopping. Offer to show her how to wear makeup. But only if she WANTED these things. Anything else would be forcing her to be someone that she isn’t in order for her to better fit in with someone else’s standards for appearance. It’s controlling.

      The poor girl didn’t need clothes and makeup. She needed a mother!

      Thanks for your comments, Al, and best wishes on your healing journey.

      Stephen

  5. Religion is indeed a tough one, there is an argument that any type of religious indoctrination is a form of child abuse actually in my view. Unfortunately religion tends to end up more about power and control than focusing on uplifting spiritual behavior. I fail to see how going to church, synagogue or the mosque has ever helped anyone, why not take the time and volunteer?

    Personally I don’t do either.

    But I’ll never be convinced by anyone that what you believe matters more than what you actually do. Institutionalized religion is in general as you say rife with the worst of human behaviour.

    Religion is a bit like Bollywood really – nice stories we want to believe and because we want to believe we do. It survives on our hopes and fears. Mind you I’m not a complete atheist either, the story of the universe as told by science seems more wild to me than anything our imaginations could have ever dreamed up!

    Somebody once said God is by your side not on your side.

    • Hi Les,

      I agree, religion is more about power and control than anything else, and some of the most despicable people on this planet often prey on the fears of their so called “believers”, extracting money from them to serve their purposes and convincing them that by relinquishing their hard earned cash that they can somehow find eternal life. It’s nothing new. The whole Lutheran movement was started because the Catholic church at the time was selling indulgences that would buy your dead relatives out of purgatory. Somehow Martin Luther saw this tactic as being wrong. Too bad some of his followers ultimately took the whole thing to an entirely different level.

      I do think there are many people that partake in organized religion that are truly good people. They take the selfless message to heart and live it the way that most religions teach. However, when a narcissist takes on religion, it’s an easy club to use for abusive purposes. When God is invoked, there is no proving right or wrong, it’s all opinions, and the only opinions that matter to a narcissist are their own.

      The human mind is incredible in that it can believe anything that it wants. Facts are irrelevant when it comes to beliefs, and any facts that do exist can easily be twisted to better suit those beliefs, or ignored altogether.

      Thanks as always for your comments, Les, and best wishes on your healing journey.

      Stephen

  6. Attended catholic schools in the ’50’s and ’60’s. No place safe for this old broad when I was growing up. Made me firmly non-churchified and completely disgusted with abusers of ALL kinds regardless of what they chose to cloak their abuse behind.
    I’m so over being mooned…..
    TW

    • Hi TW!

      It is amazing how people cloak their abuse with religion isn’t it? It’s such a convenient vehicle! It’s also a wonderful way for abusive types to carry on their god complex. Nothing makes someone more superior than being “right” when it comes to religion.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, and best wishes on your healing journey.

      Stephen

  7. I love this post Stephen 🙂
    And I’m sorry you have been through that. I guess that for a child the idea of going to hell sounds really scary (but in my opinion, you were in hell already).

    • Great point, Paola!

      I was in hell already, I just didn’t know it. How was I supposed to know at the age of 7?

      Thank you for your kind sentiments.

      Stephen

  8. a very interesting post and an even more interesting discussion. strangely enough my birth parent never used religion as a manipulative tool. more often than not they were very content to just ignore me or when my mother had one of her bad days she’d use her own misery as leverage. but my extended family had fundamentalist members, young earth creationism and all that.

    I preferred their kind of abuse actually. In their mind I was good enough. I used the “skills” acquired through my parents training to become a mindless, heartless empty shell to be filled with whatever nonsense the person interacting me pleases and put them to good use. Since I knew all the religious rites, songs and prayers I was in their good graces. I’m sure it was a different story for the kids growing up in the household but for me it was nice to know someone did appreciate all the work I put in for being accepted and “loved”.

    The ugly side of religion became much more apparent to me as I grew into a teenager and attended a catholic private school were numerous guilt trips were laid by the headmaster in the name of a certain higher power to get the students to accept any and all kind of crap. I was literally waiting for one of us to crack and kill themselves. Our school was well known even to interns in mental health institutions around the city…

    And of course once I started distancing myself from religion my fundamentalist relatives became very busy with FOG too. Only I never feared their imaginary friend from far away. Deep down I never truly believed. I had no concept of what it is like to be loved and in the end I always felt these stories about this construct loving me all too good to be true. Guilt trips worked better for a while. But at some point I realised how selfish it is to request of someone that they believe because *you* want to see them in the after life. What kind of reason is that? How can you genuinely believe that is holds any lure whatsoever…

    It’s interesting that your belief survived the abuse. I’m happy for anyone who finds solace in the religion of their choice. I did have a very spiritual phase were I began to understand emotionally what draws people to religion, religious rites and chants. I have been let down by numerous people claiming to act in the name of you know which deity but some of the songs from that part of my life I still like. Nostalgia 🙂

    I quite agree with you on religion being a very powerful tool which can easily be abused to control the gullible. It’s very refreshing to see someone who is open and acknowledges the pitfalls and dangers and still believes. I don’t know how you do it but good for you! 🙂

    • HI Stranger!

      Truthfully, my belief didn’t survive the abuse. These days, I’m essentially agnostic. In the grand scheme of things, it is my opinion that none of this stuff really matters, and to force feed it to others, especially children, is doing the entire world a huge disservice. Looking back at the history of religion, it’s truly incredible how religion has been repeatedly used as a means to justify all types of heinous behavior.

      Your story is very interesting. Religious abuse by proxy perhaps? I can only imagine how badly you were condemned when you chose to go your own way. I have some cousins that were sent to a hyper religious boarding school for high school, and they all left with a huge distaste for religion. None of them are religious in any fashion to the best of my knowledge, although I’ve lost contact with all of them, so I really don’t know for sure where they are at with regards to religion these days.

      I can certainly see how once your family managed to strip you of your entire persona that you were easy prey for anyone that showed you ‘love’. It’s the same type of methods that cults use: Strip you of your identity and then replace it with an identity that makes for a good supplicant. When you come ‘pre-stripped’ it makes things just that much easier for them.

      I agree, if following my mother’s religion means that I get to spend my afterlife with her, I’ll be more than wiling to take my chances with ‘hell’ or wherever she happens to NOT be 🙂

      Thanks as always for your comments!

      Stephen

  9. What a paradise hell must be if it’s free from my family 😛 Let’s meet up there! hehe

    I actually do think religion does serve an important role in community when done right. Obviously there are people with no detectable conscience (some of them prefer to be called father even after disowning me, because you know their preferences are all that 😛 ) but I think some people are on the fence there. When done right religion shows them right from wrong and gives them a reason why they should follow that path. I do not agree with their guilt tripping ways but the rare breed of christians does know how to do this right.

    Also church can be your free psychotherapy where you meet up and talk about things that bother you, hear about other people similar problems as inspired by the gospel. You know this self help group which adamantly does not call itself that XD

    Somehow in our society you get taught morals and receive support by church or maybe by your parents but contrary to church parents have no handbook and thus much less reason to develop good behaviour. There is no place where this is discussed normally except behind closed doors between close friends/relatives. I wish there were philosophy assemblies every weekend where the majority of the community shows up talking about free will and morals and how to spot abuse and how to deal with the multitude of problems people have. With the organisers of this assembly studying all these things and being accountable for getting this right. Or at least a subject in school about it, because emotional health should be more important and not left to the arbitrary nature of human egos abusing this concept. But there are no such things. Until then religion is the next best thing.

    TBH for me the lines between abuse and normal behaviour are VERY blurred. Once you verbally and psychologically (or however else) beat out the idea of someone that consent may or may not be given according to personal preference this person will always give consent everywhere. If you truly succeed with this task you have created the ultimate yes-person. Is it rape when you agreed to it and never mention the pain? Is it on the other person to see it in you when you were so well trained to not show anything or at least supportive emotions if you have to have these idiotic foolish sick emotions you stubbornly insist on having?
    Is it religious abuse when you pretend to like it because you’d pretend to like anything just to be enough? The ultimate goal of abuse is always to have all reminders of anything personal disappear, no emotions of ones own, no likes or dislikes, no pain except the pain the people around you feel, no expression of anything of notice, such as opinions or ideas. No need to wrestle with accountability around someone who has no concept of it at all. If you do this from very early on there is no personality to strip someone of, it never develops. You literally become the person who actually “likes” being raped because you never had contact with your inner life to begin with and just “feels” whatever you are told to feel.

    I never put my foot down with my fundamentalist relatives and said listen I have absolutely no interest in your bullshit. As I grew we would have discussions of course. I enjoyed someone giving me attention… That’s what this was to me. The little hamster in a wheel, wanting so badly to move forward and being happy that it moves and thinking moving is already all it wanted… I’m not sure they know I consider myself atheistic now. I never told them, nor did I talk about my extensive involvement in science that is actually you know science… Since pretty much everyone in my family is good at ignoring stuff they never condemned me extremely. They just pretend they have all the answers and I need to search a little bit more. I became not good enough once I stopped my pretentious lip service. But yes now I have no interest in being good enough to people who never think about whether they are good enough a friend, a family member, a mentor. Constantly questioning yourself isnt healthy, never doing it isnt healthy either…

  10. Interesting discussion, stranger.

    I firmly believe the lines between abuse and consent are not blurred at all. Either one gives consent or they don’t. If they didn’t want to give consent, but did anyway out of fear of some other belief that they are wrong to not give consent, then they did give consent. Just because someone permits themselves to be brainwashed into giving consent doesn’t mean that they didn’t give consent. In my opinion, saying the lines are blurred is giving permission to the abuser to abuse, because such blurring of the lines is exactly the type of environment the abuser is trying to promulgate. He wants people to doubt themselves, so that he can rush in and set the their doubts aside, indoctrinating the abused in a litany of “Look what you made me do!”. Very, very dangerous ground, in my opinion.

    Relying on a church for psychotherapy literally makes me shudder. The thought is total anathema to me! Yes, I can see where some people may benefit, given the right situation, but I believe most church psychotherapy is conducted by people that have a woefully inadequate understanding of relationship dynamics and often does more harm than good.

    I don’t believe people that are abusers have goals to totally remove a person’s identity. More, their goal is to mold that identity into their perfect mirror. They are constantly recruiting worshippers. Often, once the abused has been beaten down to a point where they don’t make a good mirror anymore, the abuser will discard the abused and find a new source of N-supply. Abusers don’t want ‘yes’ men all the time, because they don’t represent a challenge. The want the next conquest. Conquer and destroy. It’s militaristic in nature. It’s why a child molester doesn’t just molest one child. It’s why a philanderer doesn’t have just one mistress. It’s a drug to them. They can’t get enough of the conquest.

    People are welcome to believe whatever they would like. If believing that the grapefruit in your refrigerator has supernatural powers and will provide a wonderful afterlife for you, that’s up to you. Just don’t shove your grapefruit religion down my throat! Don’t condemn me because I don’t believe that I can be ‘saved’ by a grapefruit. It’s this type of religious mentality that I find truly abhorrent; when ‘leaders’ of religious organizations feel they have the power to judge and dictate to people how they must believe in order to be ‘saved’. Religions can’t help but be judgmental. It’s wired into their definition.

    If you’re bored someday, read up on the 4th Crusade. The 4th Crusade was a total abomination. Short on money and with a secret papal grudge to fulfill, the crusaders sacked and destroyed Constantinople, a fellow CHRISTIAN city, and never made it to Jerusalem to ‘save’ the Holy Land from the ‘threat’ of Islam. The beautiful city of Constantinople was completely looted and destroyed and it’s citizens raped and murdered, all because of a papal grudge; the so called “Great Schism” that existed between Rome and Constantinople. All because of religion. And money. 800 years later the pope finally apologized to Constantinople (now Istanbul) for the 4th Crusade. 800 years for an apology.

    Thanks as always for you comments, Stranger!

    Stephen Bach

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