” As my ancestors are free from slavery, I am free from the slavery of religion.”
Although, I didn’t grow up in the evangelical church, I was baptized into the catholic faith at a very young age. The church would call it the age of accountability, that would be 12 years old. I participated in the church’s rules of catechism, and holy communion. I was baptised in a white veil, white gloves, and dress , symbolism of Christ’s pure bride. Growing up as a foster child was hard enough, living under the roof of an older man (my foster father) who lusted for me was terrifying. My first kiss came from him, and he was a Church going Catholic. That’s another story for another time!
So although I wasn’t brain washed to win souls for the Lord, as I grew older and left home is when I stumbled upon religion again. At the time I was in a Lesbian relationship with a woman in New York, and my children had already been recruited by the baptist church. That led to regular visits to my drive way, and the exchanging of uncomfortable conversations. My children didn’t then know the truth of the church that I know now, they were raised very closed off from having a lot of friends, maybe due to fear of there fathers or possibly because I felt I had to protect them from people. See, I too am I survivor of many traumas, starting from having a drunk passive-aggressive father, to having a domestically abused submissive mother, to experiencing rape and domestic violence myself, my husband was not a very nice guy. Again, a possible story for another time.
So, when I came to Georgia, my children started hanging out wit some of the church kids that they’d met at their new school, and among the first series of teachings they received from the church clergy was that being gay/homosexual and lesbian was a not only a sin against God, and Jesus , but that I was going to hell, and deserved punishment. My children from there on looked at me differently, they felt uncomfortable around me, and any chance they got, they ran to church to hang out with friends. At the time , I was still with Linda, my lover, partner, and that eventually came to an end. I felt heart broken over the relationship, and found myself seeking out other ways of coping with what I was emotionally going through.
Finally by this time my son had enlisted into the the Navy and my daughter became rebellious towards me, it was combination of church friends, and hanging out with the troubled neighborhood children going through their on family traumas, and being the street hanging out was their way of coping with what ever was going on inside of them. Mind you, no gates of heaven opened parted the skies to bring my daughter home, she ended up with pretty bad people. Not everyone in the world is bad, but we all know that there exist really bad people , non the less. I spent most of my nights at home coping and dealing with my mind, eventually I made it to the baptist church, my son was getting baptised before leaving to the Navy, and wanted my presence to congratulate him. In my opinion, baptism though it may be a genuine act for some, it in my opinion is just a guilt tripping into being a follower of Christ.
My son didn’t know this at the time, and yes you guessed it, after my son’s baptism, month’s later my daughter followed, and then later I followed, and although Catholics, and Baptist doctrine is different, you’d think the one bastising me a second time would’ve known that, you don’t need two baptism’s to be saved. ( Another joke for a display). Christianity is exhausting, like most christians, who at the opportunity to serve would jump, I did too! I didn’t know what I was getting into, no one ever took the time to tell me about the ugly history of the church, and the 1490’s spanish war against puerto rico (Boriken Island) Taino turf then. The Connecticut School curriculum forgot to mention , Christopher Columbus ‘s secret appetites, of greed, and murder.
Go figure, the Europeans, and Tainos and African’s are my ancestors. HAD, someone told me the history, it could’ve saved me years of religious trauma, and suffering. I spent seconds’ hours, day’s, months, weeks, and years suffering a mental, and physical exhaustion, like no other. I was alone, scared, and confused, and when I turned to the church they’d only gave me scriptures to read. I was so terrified that someone would consider me crazy, and delusional, and have me put into a Psychiatric ward, yes it was that bad, that I continued suffering in silence. I was in the brink of starving myself, not drinking water, and not sleeping for months on end, and in all that mental confusion, I never once doubted that God wasn’t causing it!
In fact I thought that he was enjoying watching me suffer. But, yet, I continued worshipping, praising, and going to church. My situation didn’t let up for years. I experienced moments of blacking out, passing out, screaming for help, and suffering in silence with the fear of someone declaring me insane, or believing that I was some how being disobedient to God. It has been a very long ten years. Not once did God show up to comfort me, Jesus either. I carried with me so many lies in my head about life, redemption, repentance, and spreading the gospel for Christ. It was , I was in my mind a laughing stock, just another woman seduced by poems, songs, and promises of salvation. Judeo-Christianity for awhile had me in a mental prison, of self sabotaging behavior, learning destructive , belittling self – talk.
I was scared on what to wear, what to watch on tv, what to listen to on the radio, who I spoke to, who to love, and whether there was someone else in my ears listening, the unbearable trauma, exhaustion, and pain was so real to me. My daughter and I one day exchanged some pretty harsh words, and she said, you’re crazy, you need help! And, that is when I started trauma therapy, and PTSD therapy for what I was going through. I was diagnosed with PTSD, and I self diagnosed my self with Religious Trauma. This all led to me being introduced to Seth_Andrews#The_Thinking_Atheist, FFRF, Freedom from Religion Foundation, Recovery from Religion, and Dr. Marlene Winell, from journeyfree.org/. Then is when I started sensing that I was not alone, and that others had been experiencing similar challenges. Although its been hard terribly hard even after building up the courage to leave it all behind me, my mind and body had to be convinced that it was safe, and that the boogie man GOD was not lingering around to stimulate another attack on me. I started doing the work, the research, listening to 1000’s of hours about the the topic on podcasts, and I started feeling a sense of safety, and believing in me became more centered.
Our world needs help, some many people are dying because of religion, we see it everywhere, I was a very lucky one. All this talk about Grace, and God’s redeeming Love, but not once did I feel that God, or Jesus loved me. Most Christians, believe that spreading the gospel saves souls, and that in return we’ll have a position in a greater glory with God and Jesus in heaven, hate to break it to you, “I don’t want it”! “I don’t need it”. It is all works! We are not blind, we can see who is benefiting, I did my part, I served, I was in the Army of God, and I spiritually put on the armour of God, thinking I was standing against evil, I guarded myself and my heart with with truth,and righteousness, I prepared my feet to spread the gospel, and walked in confusion for years, I took on the shield of faith, and placed the helmet of salvation upon my head and used the sword of the spirit, and prayed (Ephesians 6:11-20) for everyone, all the nations, all police officers, schools, gays, straight , lesbians, pastors, judges and priest, and for Israel. I am exhausted! Mentally , Physically, and my heart hurts! I take it off, the whole amour, I stand naked in my human self, in my truth ” I am woman”. “Here me roar!
Strong men-men who are truly role models – don’t need to put down women to make themselves feel powerful.
Where does it come from, and does it really exist? This has been a touchy subject for me for awhile now. Are we really soulful people? Do we really have a soul, are we a soul ? In the 70’s American Television Music Dance Show , Soul Train was very popular, and one of my father’s favorite! I remember as a little girl hearing, Funk, Disco, Hip Hop, and Soul music in the environment. None of it clicked until I became older, and realized that the music that made my body move and groove through my younger years, unto my older, was just that soul music, the music of my father. Rhythm & Sounds , like , The Jackson Five, Stevie Wonder, The Four Tops, The Temptations, Chaka Khan, Kool and The Gang, The Emotions, Chic Le Frique and the list is seriously endless! Music like that takes over and you can’t help but to move, and groove to it.
That’s my father in the top photo with my youngest sibling. When I first heard of the soul, I was between exploring Buddhism, and Christianity, later I discovered that the Christian text is actually the Hebrew Bible/ Translated into english, full of contradictions in its finest. This book confused me terribly! It took years from my life, and caused me so much Religious Trauma. My Father was illiterate, so he never had the privilege to read it.
Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with purpose.
In my research, I settled with a concept that originated from a poem, the google search base says, it was derived from an old english word, spelled sawol, and sawel, whichever came first, its meaning is literally about man being immortal in some fashion or another.
The ancient poem is from the 8th century, Beowulf 2820, as well as the Vaspian psalter 77.50. Some ancient faith believers of the greek origin believed that it was considered the breath of the human, in other beliefs the chi of the person, and in others the vessel that holds the life of the human.
I remember telling myself , oh its just a journey that your discovering, and on that day I made the decision to do research. However, anytime I researched it, I felt a sense of discomfort, along with hopefulness, a combination of strange feelings. I’ve learned that our planet has many folks from different strokes , with different versions, and understanding of it, for me, way to many opinions on the subject, and none seem to satisfy me.
The research did help, and as time past , some of the damage that religion did to me healed , areas where I was scarred religion couldn’t touch. I also started meditating and chanting an old chant from Buddhism, called ” Nam -myoho-renge-kyo. I am not a buddhist, although I do enjoy the Secular Buddhist podcast
Although I did some healing, I still had some mixed feelings about a lot of things in my life. Religion had me so confused, and fear for awhile played with my mind. Eventually I learned about fear more on a intellectual sense , versus it just being emotional reeking havoc. I also faced questioning my sexual preferences, not only was I coming out of a long distance relationship with a person I learned was incompatible with me , I also was processing things in my nervous system caused by the trauma. I had so many questions, but didn’t know how to ask them or who to ask.
“Being alone may scare you, but being in a bad relationship will damage you.”
A cycle of Traumatic beliefs starting building in me uncomfortable sensations, and everything around me became scarey, and disorienting. If anyone could’ve seen through me, they’d of seen a terrorized woman , walking around hyper focused, angry, abused, and totally alone inside herself, with fear as “Sargent General.”
Fear, confusion, anger were the leading emotions in my life and I didn’t know whether I should run, hide, submit to the religion that was causing those unfair feelings , or if I should ask for help. When I did ask, it left me in doubt, I was told to read the scriptures more and memorize scripture, and congregate , I became even more skeptical. My mind was made up, I hated religion, and going back was not an option. What ever I was going through, I had to get through it. I spent a year going to Therapy, and it helped, however im still angry. Monotheism Trauma took 12 years from my life.
What’s more disturbing is how no one noticed, how could they not see or notice the pain, and the suffering I was experiencing while standing in front of them. I was so traumatized that I even stop trying to tell anyone in fear that I would be considered schizophrenic and committed. All these feelings I think in part are what led me to question the soul concept, among other reasons.
Did I mention, anger, I was so angry about life, divine laws, religious books, Christopher Columbus, The Spaniards conquering the Boriken Island (Puerto Rico) the genocide of my ancestors, spiritual men, and women, love, relationships, pretty much anything in connection to what caused me to hurt.
I was raised American. Yes, I’m born here, my father and mother are Natives of Puerto Rico, and so is my generation from them. You see, after DFACS removed me from my father, and the hostile environment he created, I lost contact with everything I knew of my childhood prior to 10 years old.
Today the thought of the soul came to mind, and I thought of my father. He recently past away, and it saddens me that due to the covid -19 he died alone in a hospital bed.
No family member was allowed to be by his side, only a video camera, the same that we use to collect the fun, and happy memories of friends, and family, was what was used to see him release his last breath. My oldest sister whom I lost contact for many years, even hated the thought that I was present via video. That hurt terribly hurt me, obviously of no fault of her own was she aware of what I was going through in my own life. That’s ok, I still love you “SIS.”
My father’s passing brought back to mind the concept of soul, and I still can’t find myself to believing that we as humans have one. Yes, we breathe and that , along with food , and water is our source of life, and I can understand having chromosomes of our parents and those cells living on genetically, however to accept that we have a soul, I can’t and won’t.
I love my Father
My father was a special type of person, and although he was gone alot, spent his time in the streets, and on many occasions his personality shifted from laughter to anger in less than minute, he’d joke, and sometimes hit, and when he did, he hit hard, and although he was an alcoholic, and abusive, not educated, illiterate, and proud puerto rican, had his troubles, his history of traumas, he was a jack of all trades pretty talented with his hands. In my humble opinion, I believe that love still lived in his heart, it was his drunkenness, passive aggressiveness, lack of education that made him reactive, and hostile. Maybe he was angry and disappointed at himself, maybe he felt less of man, only he if could tell us what he was going through in life that made him have the impulses, I’m sure he would. Know this , his behaviour it made life difficult for us, children and wife. He was in the sense, an emotionally unstable man.
Now, that I’m an adult, I understand, and can say that I love my father, even when he failed to be one, and lost his parental rights. His soul if he has one is laid to rest, he isn’t in some heavenly garden, that needs no water, or sun! I feel he is exactly where he was laid , in his coffin, decomposing, sharing himself with the earth, and becoming part of an ecosystem, that begins once you are dead, then becomes part of a different process.
I wish that in the meaning of the word “soul” that father was a soul, happy and well, full of laughter, joy, and celebrating his arrival, but that isn’t so. I can’t bring myself to believe that. For now, I will stick with science, and believe that when we die we become part of another system, and there aren’t others waiting on the other side. I’ve spent to many years personalizing so much of man’s ideologies, so much of histories instability, and it only has caused me mental pain, confusion and years of suffering. I find a sense of peace, accepting that there is no such thing as a soul, or worrying about the what “Ifs”. Religion, Deities, Worship, all that man stuff is separate from me.
Religion really messed me up! In reality it messed all of us up! History books tell it, we are all trying to live it out, and wait, just waiting. My father lost. He died a poor man, and left six of his adult children behind, with about 14 grandchildren, 16 great grandchildren and our mother. I know this much, If I had a soul, or my father had one, no Supreme anything in the sky or below deserves it!
“”Freethought or free thought is a philosophical stance which holds that opinions regarding any forms of truth should be formed on the basis of logic, reason, and experience, rather than authority, tradition, or dogmatic doctrines. The application of freethought is known as “freethinking“, and practitioners of freethought are known as “freethinkers“.
For anyone suffering from anything, whether its due to religion, sexuality, family, suicide, anything please go to the support section of this blog. Help is available. Don’t give up on yourself. Hold on, and reach out. We love you, #Sanityiz