How to Recover from a Christian Upbringing

I grew up in a conservative Christian church-going family. During years of Sunday school, church services and various fellowship groups, I was fed a diet of deception which helped undermine my fragile self-esteem. My sensitivity and having emotionally disconnected parents who were in constant conflict didn't help, and it's difficult to judge exactly how much of the damage was due to religious indoctrination, and how much was simply due to the environment I grew up in. My parents could return from a church service where the minister preached on the theme of “Love”, and have a blazingly abusive argument. Throw in this level of hypocrisy, and you get a boy who grows up into one seriously confused adult.

Were you made to feel small by your childhood religion?

Were you made to feel small by your childhood religion?

Childhood religious teaching has a pervasive effect. For many years into adulthood I continued attending church before I wised up, and even became involved in the church leadership. At the time I believed I was doing the right thing; but looking back I can see how appallingly narrow-minded and naïve I was.

Realising that I had been misled was painful, and didn't suddenly undo overnight the damage that had been done to my psyche over many years. So here are some tips on what I learned in my attempts to recover from a Christian upbringing:

Learn to Forgive Yourself

At the core of Christianity is the doctrine of salvation: we need a saviour because we are all inherently sinful. This resonates with us because of course we all make mistakes which hurt other people and feel guilty from time to time. We're taught that we're sinful and need Jesus's death to atone for us, loading us up with a truckload of unnecessary guilt in the process. Little old me caused God's only son to die, when I wasn't even born. And if I don't get “saved”, most brands of Christianity teach that we will burn for all eternity in hell.

What a load of baloney.

You are not a bad person. You are capable of forgiving yourself, apologising and making amends when you hurt other people. Let go of perfectionist guilt that triggers whenever you get anything wrong. You do not need to be perfect. Start acknowledging your mistakes, especially with the people who have been effected. Tell them that you're sorry, and mean it. If you're not, do some emotional healing work to enable yourself to feel more empathy for other people. Make amends when you feel guilty, and recognise when your guilt is out-of-proportion with you have actually done; that's probably the old religious thing rearing its ugly head again. Deal with any remaining guilt and shame by telling a friend you trust.

Heal Your Shame

Shame is probably the most long-lasting after-effect of a religious upbringing. Taking on some level of shame while growing up is probably inevitable, but religious teaching broadens the scope and drives it much deeper. When you're taught that there's a God watching over your every move, you get to feel self-conscious even when you're by yourself. Here are some perfectly normal masculine traits that I learned to be ashamed of:

  • Thinking for myself
  • Sexuality and wanting to have sex
  • Interest in Women
  • Being interested in and attracted to attractive women, rather than just plain ones
  • Masculine power
  • A thirst for wisdom and knowledge
  • Knowing the truth

The way to heal shame is by exposing the things you are ashamed of to other people who are willing to offer you love and acceptance in return. Start seeking out men and women in your life with whom you can be really honest about the things you have been shamed about that still control or restrict you from being your true self.

Shame is the biggest and most insidious insecurity we have, so this is the most powerful thing you can do to boost your self-confidence. For more on healing shame, see Step 13: Heal Your Shame in Confident Man.

Get Angry

You have every right to be angry with the people, possibly including your parents, who taught you to believe things that weren't true before you were old enough and wise enough to discern the difference for yourself. The people who taught you these things were old enough to know better, and the fact that they operated out of fear and ignorance is no excuse.

The God of the Bible is a personification of human qualities projected by primitive people desperate for someone to be in control of the often hostile universe they found themselves living in. But you weren't to know that when you were just a kid. You were probably taught that getting angry was bad and inappropriate, right about the same time that you were taught about this jealous, angry God of the Old Testament who got away with anything he liked.

You may still have trouble getting angry about this, and other things, because Christianity taught you to be subservient instead. If this is the case for you, see Step 16: Get In Touch With Your Anger in Confident Man.

Claim Your Power Back

The bible has popular appeal because it appeals to the weak and the dis-empowered masses. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. This is at odds with reality; the meek clearly aren't about to inherit the earth any time soon, and the notion of a new heaven, a new earth, and an afterlife are all made up to help appease our fear of destruction and death.

It's time to claim your power back. Few men will fully accomplish this: most men lead lives of quiet desperation. There can only be one truly alpha male in any group. But that doesn't mean you should give up and placate your restlessness with biblical platitudes. Most men are off cowering before their wives/girlfriends or sucking up to women in the vain hope of attracting one. The women in their lives get sick of this kind of behaviour pretty quickly because they're biologically wired to want a real man, not a feminised 21st century wuss. Some men are so out of touch with their masculinity that they date other men instead. But at least you are reading this and have a chance of claiming back the power that was taken from you.

Read the Skills section of Confident Man, and start developing the life skills you need to get your power back.

Learn to Trust Yourself

If you were anything like me, you probably noticed that the God that you were being taught about when you were a kid never actually showed up. But some adult you trusted told you he was real, so you went along with it anyway. At times perhaps you had some unexpected emotional reaction that people encouraged you to interpret in spiritual terms, because they were unaware of how human emotions work and keen to find any evidence to validate their flaky beliefs.

In doing all this, you learned to stop trusting your own intuition that told you that the God they spoke of was every bit as real as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. After years of this kind of self-delusion, you may find it difficult to trust your intuition now. The way to restore your intuition is to assess people and events based on gut instinct, and refine your opinion each time you get information that confirms or denies your original opinion. Stop being neutral about things to avoid conflict, and start having an opinion.

You're likely to be pretty bad at this to start with, but the more practise you get, the better your intuition will develop. It helps to have a supportive environment to do this, so that people don't just come down on you like a ton of bricks when you get it wrong, which inevitably you will at first.

Experience Love From Non-Christians

The Bible teaches that love comes from God, but that's just another example of Christian arrogance and self-righteousness. Love is a normal human emotion with an evolutionary basis just like our other emotions. Its purpose is to bond people together, which enhanced our ancestor's survival. In modern western society, physical survival is for the most part no longer at stake due to lack of love, but mental and emotional health sure are.

Seek out non-Christians who have the capacity to show love to you, and give them every reason to do so. In other words, show them some love first. This will help you to reprogram two flawed beliefs: firstly, that non-Christians are somehow bad people for not accepting Jesus as lord and saviour, and secondly that only Christians are capable of genuine love. Once I began to experience the inclusive love of open-minded non-Christians, I was able to see how shallow, restrictive, judgemental and controlling the love that many Christians offer is.

Christians are also capable of showing genuine love; it is, after all, a basic human trait not restricted to any particular ideology. But when it comes packaged with a flawed belief system that they want you to adopt, it gets messy to separate the two.

Find A New Community

One of the compelling things about religion is the sense of community that all religions offer. People need community and religious people tend to report higher levels of happiness than non-religious people as a result. The sense of community and the ability to discriminate “us” from “them” addresses a basic human need.

Find yourself a community of like-minded people to hang around in. Seek out other men who had a Christian upbringing and have managed to break away and recover from it. Commit yourself to living the most inspired, conscious, loving life possible and don't let baggage from your past get in your way of doing it. Learn from other men ahead of you on the road, and let them be your inspiration.

Choose any community which participates in regular activities that you can enjoy. Many people find community by joining a sporting team. That way you'll get your social and exercise needs met all in the one hit, keeping you fit psychologically and physically; both of which are great for your confidence.

Learn to Trust Other People

Having been misled by misguided people about something so fundamental as the meaning and purpose of life and where we all came from, it's natural that you might be a little hesitant to trust other people again. Learning to think for yourself and doing the other things recommended in this article should help give you a stable basis for discerning when people are telling you the truth, and when they're feeding you self-serving dogma.

Ultimately you need to be comfortable taking risks when it comes to trusting other people. Some will be trustworthy, some will not. Developing your intuition will help you in discerning between the two. You also need to drop your perfectionism that makes it hard for you to forgive yourself when you get it wrong. As you get better at discerning who's trustworthy, you'll be more comfortable putting increasing amounts of trust in them without fear that you'll just be fooled again.

Speak The Truth

Start speaking the truth at every opportunity. Don't hold back just because you're worried about what other people will think. There are other men out there waiting for your leadership to help free them from the tyranny of religious indoctrination. They need your inspiration but they won't even hear from you if you don't speak up.

Forget about converting the rest of your family though. They've got to learn to grow up in their own time. There's too much emotional baggage within a family for anyone to be objective about anything; much less such an all-consuming topic as religion. There's no point harping on at your mother/sister/brother/father that their belief system is made-up when they invite you to the Christmas Day church service. Just decline politely, move on, and prove the point that Christianity is an oppressive religion by taking your personal growth beyond what was possible within its narrow constraints. Commit to becoming a positive example by having the most powerfully loving life you possibly can now that you're liberated from it.

Find Your Mission In Life

If your mission in life up until now has been to “preach the gospel”, to “serve God” or anything else based on your old religious beliefs, you need to find a new mission in life, and possibly some new passions. Your mission should be something sufficiently engrossing for you that nothing would stand in your way of working towards it. This is important to keep you motivated when life throws obstacles in your way. Without a mission, you're likely to wander a little aimlessly, feel restless and think that life has no meaning.

Keep in mind that you're biologically wired to want to connect with other people, so this is likely to factor in your mission somewhere. It has taken me some time to determine my new mission in life, and to begin working towards it in a focused way. It's still a work in progress. Remember that life is all about the journey, not the destination. This may seem counter-intuitive if you grew up with the Christian notion that heaven and the after-life is when you reap the rewards of what you sow in this life. It's not: this life is where you both sow and reap, and having a mission to guide you in the journey helps you stay focused and avoid taking detours.

Work towards aligning your mission, the things you are passionate about, your relationships and your career, and you're headed for the good life.

Be Patient With Yourself

I was involved in Christianity for at least 32 years; about 20 of those professing it as my own. The damage this did was spread over many years. You don't just undo 30+ years of mental programming over night. It takes time. So be patient with yourself. On the days when the shame seems overwhelming or you just feel like you hate yourself, remember that you were taught to feel these things when you were very young. Don't beat yourself up for taking a long time to get over it. Stick at it, get support from other guys who have been there before, and you will get there.

For more tips on how to recover from your religious upbringing, see Step 10: Ditch Your Childhood Religion in The Confident Man Program Guide.

About Graham Stoney

I struggled for years with low self-esteem, anxiety and a lack of self-confidence before finding a solution that really worked. I created The Confident Man Program to help other men live the life of their dreams. I also offer 1-on-1 coaching via Skype so if you related to this article contact me about coaching.

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21 Responses to How to Recover from a Christian Upbringing

  1. Madison says:

    Hello. My name is Madison and I am 16 years old. I have been raised by two southern baptists parents and also lived in a Christian children's home for two years that every day told me I would never be good enough. All of these years after being told every day that I'm not good enough and that I'm going to hell has made me lose all faith. My mom says I came straight from the pits of hell. I have always been very straight forward in how I feel and coming out as an atheist has really made people hate me. (Exactly how Christians are supposed to act right?) wrong. The emotional damage that my parents and family and church has done is so overwhelming. My thoughts still scare me. I'm constantly thinking "what if I'm wrong?" "What if the devil can hurt me now?" "What if gods not real but the devil is?" I feel like I am going CRAZY!!! Even my boyfriend and his parents try to shove the bible down my throat. They mock me always and say "we'll be praying for you" because they know it gets under my skin. I read on Google that atheists make up 3% of the United States. That is really small. I live in a small town and don't know anybody with the same beliefs as me which is why I have come to the internet for help. I am really struggling and really need help. I feel like I am losing my mind! This article really helped. I think I'm just trying to say... Is anybody out there? Can somebody help me?

    • Hi Madison,
      Thanks for reaching out for help; that's very mature of you. I get that you feel like you're going crazy because the people around you are pretending something that you know deep down isn't true; but they're not willing to face that themselves so instead they're invalidating your feelings. It must be crazy-making. On top of that, you're being told that you're not good enough all the time. Consider that if what they believed was really true, and they were living it authentically, they wouldn't need or want to make you feel bad for not believing. They would instead respond with true love and compassion; no threats of hell or being told you're not good enough. That's why you can be confident in your belief that they are the crazy ones, not you.
      That said, social pressure is a real thing because we're social creatures and it's painful to be the one left out, regardless of how authentic your beliefs may be. I encourage you to try to steer away from the topic of religion with your family, and see them as the scared, broken people that they really are. At the same time, keep reaching out to sane people who can give you a more objective sense of perspective. Your feelings matter and you are wiser than you think, but it's helpful to have people around you that can affirm that, especially when your family and friends are dumping their religious delusions onto you. If you'd like to chat on Skype sometime for a quick sanity check, drop me a line.
      Talk soon,
      Graham

  2. Molly says:

    Graham,
    Although I am a woman ( sorry to rain on your men's club 😉 , your internet post was the first one that pulled up and looked interesting in my search.
    I struggle with everything you said, and you worded it in such an eloquent, loving and well-thought out way. I identify SO much with you. What an awesome thing to come across at this very moment in my life.
    My guilt now comes from dragging my once "unbelieving non-christian" husband into Christianity, and we are raising our 2 small children as such. I just read the bible stories to them, filled with violence, guilt, and I guess my way of compensating right now, b/c I'm not yet as bold as you ( although I am becoming that way), is assuring them that love it what matters, loving all people, regardless of belief of where they come from in life; its okay to feel anger, and all these other human emotions, and above all else, its okay to question. I feel like I got us into this trap.
    Luckily, I have a husband I can talk to, and who is not a judgemental fire and brimstone guy ( he has only gone to church for about 3 years of his life).
    I guess I just wanted to say thanks, and your article really appeals to me, b/c I have sons. I will definitely be looking over your entire website.
    Still hoping to get the community thing figured out b/c we recently moved to small town, southern america 🙂
    Thanks Graham for your 'ministry" to others!!!
    Molly

    • Hi Molly,
      Thanks for your comment. I'm really glad you found the article helpful, and I get that it's raised some questions and emotions in you. Truth be told, my view of Christianity has softened somewhat since I wrote it, as I've dealt with more of the anger that I had towards people who I felt lied to me. I now see that there is some truth in the bible, but you have to be very diligent about separating the wheat from the chaff. Jesus was right that you have to become like a child to enter the kingdom of God, but most people misinterpret this to mean that you have to blindly accept him as savior in order to go to heaven (rather than hell) after you die. What I believe he actually meant was that you have to learn to suspend judgment in order to self-actualise; in other words, follow your intuition and your emotions, just like children do naturally before us adults get to them. If you can teach your children not to suppress what they feel and to follow their intuition even in the face of a society that's going to pressure them to follow it's oppressive rules, then perhaps you can still guide them to enlightenment in a Christian community.
      Cheers, Graham

  3. DeeVa says:

    Thank you, Thank you for this article...IT WAS AWESOME and Inspiring!

  4. Miss I says:

    Hey Graham,

    Am truly sorry you had to go through all that as a child, I can certainly understand how confusing it was for you to hear one thing and experience another. I was also scathed by some "Christians," thankfully I came to realise that just because people refer to themselves as Christians, it doesn't mean they really are.

    I can sit in a garage all day and make believe am an Aston Martin, but that doesn't make me one. I've learned to separate Jesus from liars - Jesus talks about this when he says "many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!"

    The point is Graham, neither your parents or the church elders represent God - God represents himself. As a child you had religion, as an adult you can choose to have a relationship with Jesus, Jesus himself despised the religious leaders of his day for their hypocrisy, so you are not alone!

    Please email me if you wanna talk more about this stuff - concluding that God must be fake because of your bad encounters is like calling the whole of England racist because a couple of guys kicked out a black man on the train. There are certainly bad ones amongst the tribe, but then there are the rare gems, not easy to come across but definitely exist - then there is God, regardless of man's behaviour he is true!

    With Love,
    Miss I. xo

    p.s.. the Bible promotes masculine men - King David, Samson, Israel and many more.
    A thirst for wisdom and knowledge is most definitely encouraged, so is an interest in women....read song of songs!

    • Thanks for your comment Miss I. I hear where you're coming from. I have a very different view of God now, and see the character presented in the bible as a projection created by frightened, ancient people; rather than as an actual sentient being. There is some value in Jesus's teachings, but I interpret them differently now too. I think a lot of Christians use a "relationship with Jesus" as a way of avoiding intimacy with real, present humans. It's easier to tell the truth to an imaginary friend than to expose our true self to the people around us; but ultimately connections with real people is more powerful, and hence what I seek now. Love, Graham

  5. Jim Hudson says:

    There is a dramatic difference between religion, be it Christian or otherwise and a living encounter with the risen Saviour Jesus Christ. He was the only perfect man, not the feminized wimp portrayed by religion. He can truly lead men into greater paths of masculinity.

    One book that really helped me is
    http://www.amazon.com/Healing-Masculine-Soul-Restoration-Manhood/dp/0849944384

    The author, Gordon Dalbey, having another book titled Broken By Religion, Healed by God.

    • Hey Jim, thanks for your comment. I agree that there are varying degrees of Christian dysfunction, and some Christian teachers have valuable things to say about undoing the feminized wimp thing. But if you're relying on an encounter with an imaginary "Saviour", you're still looking outside yourself for your masculinity. You don't need saving; everything you need is inside you already. I believe an authentic living encounter with real living men and women is the best way to see it. The man we know as Jesus Christ wasn't "perfect" (although I have no idea what a "perfect" man would look like); he was just another dude, albeit one closer to enlightenment than most, who grew in mythic status after his death. Cheers, Graham

      • Sara says:

        Hi Graham, I really like what you are doing. I went through exactly the same experience and much of what you write and say rings true to me.

        That being said, I am a woman so for me, it brought a whole lot of different issues as well. The inferiority of women that I dealt with due to the Church's views on women was something I struggled with for a long time and it led me to become a women's rights' activist (AKA a feminist). I am a feminist AND totally agree that women are naturally attracted to masculine, confident guys. This view is not incompatible with feminism. Feminism is about making the sexes equal, not exactly the same (although I do think men should be equal parents and women should strive for workplace success). I just wish you wouldn't bandy about terms like "feminized wuss" which are quite degrading to women. You don't need to:
        - demean women
        - be an asshole to women
        to be a confident, dominant man.

        I just wish men would start to get this and build their masculinity from a TRULY, AUTHENTICALLY confident place. Not one that is built from pushing another (i.e. women) down, but rather from raising yourself AND others up.

        If you truly want to be an independent thinker, you should look into whether you truly want to accept "society's acceptable" views on feminism (which aren't that different from the Church's), and whether you have the confidence to raise women up MEANWHILST raising yourself up. THIS is the only way we can build a truly functional and effective, happy society.

        • Hi Sarah, thanks for your comment. I agree 100%. I hear that you don't like the term "feminized wuss", and perhaps read an implication that there was something wrong with being feminized if you're female. Being "feminized" is great if you're a woman; that means you're in touch with your power. But for a man, it's not so appealing. For me, "wuss" typifies men who act like women, rather than being in touch with their masculine power. Cheers, Graham.

          • C says:

            Graham,

            Interesting article. Hits on some points I've been thinking about recently.

            Re: Sara's comment -- the problem is that using 'feminized' in this way implies that there are two types of virtues/traits: one type is 'feminine' traits, and these virtues/traits are only acceptable for women to have. Not men.

            But the other virtues/traits are 'masculine' traits -- and these are the ones that are universally acceptable. For example, it is not considered an insult to refer to someone as a 'strong woman' or 'capable woman.'

            I think this double-standard is what Sara was pointing out.

          • Sure, I hear you Caroline. I've heard the traits described as healthy & unhealthy, masculine & feminine. In this case, I'm talking about men exhibiting unhealthy feminine traits like passivite, submissiveness and indecisiveness. Much of what I see in "strong women" is really women exhibiting unhealthy masculine traits like domination, rather than healthy feminine traits like vulnerability; I guess both genders have some work to do before we all reach nirvana.

  6. Pablo says:

    Wow! As others have said above - Thanks so much for this article. It's only now I am really understanding the depths of (negative) influence my christian childhood has had on me.
    I 'got out' when I was about 15 (after a couple of tentative steps onto the pulpit) when I discovered the guitar and a collection of Rolling Stones records. I've always struggled with jobs, homes and relationships and I'm starting to understand that this upbringing has a 'helll' of a lot to do with it.
    It's certainly a difficult one to relate and so it's a real relief to find some guys talking here after such a helpful article. I won't waffle on... you've said it all!
    Cheers, Pabs! 🙂

  7. Matt says:

    This is hands-down the best article I've read of yours, Graham.

    I'm not a Christian, not am I against organised religion - whatever floats your boat, I say. I've long noticed though that, exactly as you mentioned, many religions are built around pointing out how flawed a person is and how only religion can 'save' them.

    Your piece above is so perfectly articulated and is clearly written from a wise, educated mindset. Powerful and inspiring it's uplifting to see that someone who was raised within such a religion is capable of viewing himself as the incredible person he truly is!

    Outstanding, really.

  8. John McKnight says:

    Hi Graham.

    I'm really surprised to finally come across such an article as yours. It could have been written word for word by me. I always wondered if others had been as profoundly affected by this kind of Christian upbringing as I experienced, and this just proves that I'm not alone. Thank you for writing this. I won't tell my story because it mirrors what you've written to a tee. However, I did eventually leave the church, first bothered, then angry, and later confused by all I was taught and how it had affected every aspect of my life, from External things such as money, relationships, career perspective, to Internal things such as guilt, shame, motivation, purpose, and of course self-esteem.

    It's been about 12 years since I first woke up to how my upbringing had affected me so deeply. Interestingly, almost all the steps you lay out in the "How to recover.." page are ones I've previously worked through, (Seeking out non-Christians, getting angry, etc.) Again, I'm really quite amazed I found your site. And I should point out that I do intend to buy your book. I am curious, how much of the material in the book is specific to the issues of the Christian upbringing, or does it describe confidence building from a general standpoint?

    I will also say, that I have felt so alone in this struggle all these years. My entire family considers me a lost sheep and I no longer associate with my old church friends. I guess I always wanted someone to validate what I experienced upon breaking away from all this. I never doubted what I was doing, but it left me in the middle of a desert, and with a junk pile in my brain to sort out. I had to spend years sifting through what had happened, what I now believed, and who I was. My non-Christian friends listen but can't relate. Their advice has always been to just stop thinking about it. But as you know, it takes more than that.

    Lastly, I sometimes wonder how my family or the other church people can go on as they do, with the philosophy they are living by. It just seems so unhealthy and unproductive. And more specifically, how can they live this way and ever achieve success or self-actualize. It seems they are living in a very small cage of understanding and beliefs, yet this system apparently works for them. Personally I see the philosophy they live by as very very limiting.

    Graham. From the bottom of my heart thank you for writing this blog and book.

    John

    • Hi John,

      I really appreciate you taking the time to comment, and I'm really glad you found the article helpful. This has certainly been a challenging part of my life journey and I'd be really grateful if you could share the article with other guys too.

      The book has one chapter dealing specifically with Religion, but it's really more about practical steps to build the confidence you were supposed to have in the first place. Religion has such a wide impact and the steps address many of the problems it causes; but for other guys the same problems were caused by other issues like having controlling parents. So the book really isn't Christian-specific, it's Human-specific. You may find some steps more powerful than others, and some you may have already completed; but if you relate to my story then what worked (and continues to work) for me is likely to work for you.

      You don't need to feel alone any more, nor put up with the glazed look in the eyes of those who haven't got-it yet. I know many men who are recovering from all kinds of distorted childhood conditioning and we are out there making a difference in the world by facing up to our issues rather than just avoiding them, which organised religion often tends to do. I'd love to discuss this more on the forums. Great to connect with you!

      Cheers,
      Graham

  9. Will says:

    Hi, Graham. I came across this article and I want to say that I really like what you're doing here overall. I just wanted to throw out a response as a someone who identifies himself as a religious Christian. I'm really pained by some of the childhood memories you shared and how thin the perspective of Christians around you tended to be. At the same time, I find it hard to identify with the kind of Christianity you described.

    First, I find that the kind of Christianity described by the New Testament writers is centered on loving others as you love yourself. So you have to start with some love and appreciation for yourself before you can love others; it won't work, otherwise. Second, I find that "meekness" is a sign of strength, not an accession to weakness or cowardice (weaklings and cowards were scorned throughout the New Testament texts). It's simply about putting others before you and something like that only works when it comes from a platform of depth and character.

    The best summary example I can think of is from parenting. Good parents are meek with their children because they are strong and mature. They can stand through their kid's mistakes, messes, temper tantrums, presumptions, ...etc and still know their kids for who they are and express love and affection without missing a beat. Weak parents are incapable of that and are, in turn, self-absorbed, abusive, and reactive over the immature whims of a child.

    I don't know man - We're two people that will probably disagree. But I just think your article put the wrong target in it's sites. Two married people spitefully stabbing at each other after a church sermon about love is where the real problem comes from. The same people who can remain untouched by a Sunday message about Christian love and the Gospel - which entails a story about God Himself giving up all to save a tiny little lost world - are also going to ignore your articles about self-forgiveness, trusting yourself, and having the strength and sense to be open minded. I find that whatever our differences are, we are both at odds with the same kind of person. So the issue is obviously not Christianity itself or necessarily a Christian upbringing.

    Take care.

    • Thanks for your comment Will. I felt it was important to acknowledge in this article that it wasn't just Christian teaching that damaged my self-confidence, and certainly in a more positive and overtly loving home environment with the sort of good parents you describe it would have done less damage. But the other aspects of Christianity dealt with in the article are still misguided at best even if taught by loving, caring people in an otherwise nurturing environment. Christianity, like everything, has a dark side; and learning to accept our dark side is key to integration, self-acceptance and ultimately self-confidence.

  10. Love the article...spot on!!

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