I’ve come to face the fact that I’m still in recovery. I keep thinking that I can will myself toward being past the effects of the deconversion only to find out I’m still in the thick of it in some ways. As I talk to others who have left the faith or are actively questioning the faith, I keep coming across anecdotes of religious abuse most often inflicted within the mega-church sphere. When I was a Christian, I did criticize mega-churches, but I only criticized their watered-down doctrine, not the way they treated their church or even the way they seemed to run as businesses. I had no idea they were essentially morphing into cults and no clue how much they were hurting people.
I’ve been through my fair share of church drama, though. My church experienced a pretty dramatic split when I was in 6th grade, and I just kinda went along for the ride when my family started going off with the wounded and building a new church. More drama ensued within this new church just a few years down the line. This is not unexpected, though, especially since a church does have to run like a business at some level to sustain itself. I don’t think the churches I grew up in were abusive. I just think that the “this is true and nothing else” strict understanding of anything, including the Bible, can be abusive on some level, even if unintentionally.
So yes, I admit that I was abused. I’ve been in deep denial about it, but I think the only way to get through it is to accept it. I have no one in particular to blame for it, especially not a supernatural being, so I just need to learn to accept that this happens on this planet. We are a bunch of people who feel like we need answers sometimes, and when that feeling becomes a requirement, things like this happen. It’s hard to face the facts and realize that you were wrong in some way for so long. It’s weird to feel duped and have no one to blame. I’ve been through this realization before several months ago–that I was duped. But knowing it isn’t accepting it. Accepting being duped–being unintentionally deceived–takes a deeper level of understanding than I’ve grasped. I was abused by doctrine, but I am still actively recovering.
It might even take my whole life to heal, which is something else I’ll just have to accept.