Religious Trauma Syndrom / RTS

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Samson's picture
Religious Trauma Syndrom / RTS

It's clear that years of brain washing /abuse can seriously damage mental health, but I have trouble understanding non-believers having nightmares about hell. When believers make nonsensical claims about atheists, like ''just wanna sin'' or ''you hate god'' to a non-believer is clear how it doesn't make sense. Same with ''I use to be an atheists'' BS. Ofcourse there are christians who were realy atheists, but many were just not realy ''into'' religion, not thinking about it, practising...etc. They were never realy atheist,when they say: ''I use to be an atheist, but then I prayed to Jesus-I find god'' It's Juts before ''born again'' period. Atheists don't pray. So I don't understand how can atheist be afraid of hell or have nightmares ?

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Alex431's picture
The word is indoctrination.

The word is indoctrination. Indoctrination of religion is the main reason for the spread of all religion. I would love to meet someone who can have an intellectual discussion with me and attempt to make me believe in a supernatural entity that defy and defines all reason, other people have found that someone or have had some kind of 'revelation' and now they believe in 'god'. Want to know the funny thing about that? Most probably are just saying that as a way of convincing you that they are right, I have been taught by teachers like that and when they thought that I was 'like them' they opened up to me and told me their methods but at that time was was 100% anti-religion but no one really knew.

Now then, regarding an atheist having a nightmare about hell, how does one know how hell looks without first having seen it? No, no, I won't bother going in that direction. If you watch a cartoon as a child and something scary happened in it, more than likely you might have a nightmare about it whether or not you actually are fully aware of what it is, correct? So as an adult you know that peoples' view of hell is that it is a place incarnate of all the traumas and even more than the amount we know of, and that it is a place where pain is intensified, we can't die but feel it for eternity, infinite and inescapable prison, blah, blah and the list goes on. Various view of hell and there are even more, just as there are various views of heaven. So why would you be afraid of this? You are told what it is, you might observe horrors whether real or fictional and imagine yourself in the character's place, you doze off with you mind still wrapped around the events and guess what, your dream is now a horror story. Now it does not have to directly after you watched or contemplated the scenario, it can take years and while you are asleep you might recall it while not being aware of remembering it. That is one interpretation of such an event, but there are so many more ways of analyzing it, the best way is to personally think about it, don't fall back on religion if you can't find an answer because there is always an answer to every situation. If there is a situation without a rational explanation then that simply means that the answer just has yet to be discovered but it still exists. Look at all the development proposed by science recently that is simply mind-boggling but rational, conversely look at religion...without science people would be too afraid to venture too far out of their homes in fear of fall off the edge of the earth, people with curable diseases would be exiled and/or burnt to death, and the list goes on. Religion has done no form of good for man other than give him a set of rules to live by which are slowed being eroded by time and erased, but it will still leave a mental scar of civilization and somehow find its way back up from its grave.

Samson's picture
I wasn't clear regarding

I wasn't clear regarding nightmares. Ofcourse anybody can have nightmares about anything. I should say: They can't sleep at night. Or they have trouble sleeping (& have nightmares) Any healthy person can have a bad dream. The point is, they still have a fear of hell. I'd expect when one becomes an atheist - all concerns are gone, fear vanishes.

SammyShazaam's picture
Children have nightmares

Children have nightmares about the Boogeyman too, even after they learn that he doesn't exist... I'd say it's roughly the same thing. Hell, as described, is rather scary! However, that doesn't make it true at all. Hardly any of our nightmares really are.

aMan's picture
In general, and IMHO,

In general, and IMHO, "everything" is as the human life form "knows it". The basics of that knowing are human psychology and philosophy. It seems in time that via abstract thinking processes the earliest of such mental action was a moment of that which was a theological reflection. And yes, bad dreams were involved, we have all seen a dog jerk and bark while asleep, that is its psychology at work. Ancients humans saw and heard a like thing in sleeping humans, then the story began.

Tom S's picture
The RTS title immediately

The RTS title immediately stirred my interest
First because 12 years in Catholic schools left me unable to imagine leaving until a family trauma kicked me into hurling my parents and their religion from my life. (A lot of learning and 50 years of happy agnosticism followed before I climbed down off that fence.)
Second because at about age 70 I read of the degrees of PTSD--re-experiencing the trauma(s) through flashbacks or nightmares, avoiding stimuli associated with the trauma, and increased arousal or hypervigilance. Weeks later I read of them again and suddenly realized that due to parental violence I'd been hypervigilant all of my adult life. I had 30 years earlier found a use for my energy in political activism.
I now laugh as I tell people I had PTSD before I went to war (in the Navy off Korea).
Main reason for responding here?
Avoiding the over-analyzing I did for much of my life, I'm curious as to whether anyone sees in RTS the above degrees of PTSD.

Tom S's picture
Adding to my above post: I

Adding to my above post: I asked the question because in my life I see the degrees of PTSD.
1. Nightmare. While in my teens, horny as hell, anticipating a future marriage yet denied BC by Catholicism, I dreamed of being financially responsible for multiple kids (like my dad). I woke up terrified. I decided to have no kids and that nightmare never repeated.
2. Avoidance. For a few years after I left Catholicism, mere mention of the word "spiritual" upset me. I stopped using it and its various forms. In time I calmed down and became able to tell anyone who asks that 12 years of Catholicism destroyed the idea.
3. Hyper-vigilance. Only two of the hundreds of people I know are as vigilant as I am violations of church and state separation. All of my tax-deductible contributions go to membership in and donations to c-s separation organizations.
I'm okay with either "RTS" or "PRSD" (for Post Religion Stress Disorder).

hwi2's picture
Hell is so "advertised" in

Hell is so "advertised" in any religion, but there is also the Hell from folklore where it is exaggerated. The way I see it is that nobody can really know how Hell is or if it even exists until we actually die and even if you believe in heaven and actually go there, you would probably never see Hell to begin with, so you may still not believe that exists. The fact that we will see God in Heaven is an interesting concept and if God is truly in Heaven, even the atheists will know for sure once they get there. Of course, that is no proof of God, but I am just iterating what I have heard since I was a kid.

Serjaydee's picture
Well, I think hwi2's opinion

Well, I think hwi2's opinion on hell being so advertised in any religion takes the crown to this. To be honest this is the first time in this thread that I've read about theists telling stories of non-atheists having nightmares about hell and all. Watch a horror movie alone about hell and then sleep. And whether you're an atheist or not I'm sure you'd still about dreams about hell and all. Dreams, is a scientific thing, not a religious one.

catandmouse's picture
For any person "hell" is an

For any person "hell" is an place where you apparently get punished for all the sins that you made in your lifetime, so nightmares of "hell's" are quite common for an person who has committed some crime and if that crime starts to haunt him, Then its an common phenomenon have such nightmares.

atheister's picture
RTS - LOL, religion and other

RTS - LOL, religion and other supernatural things seem to have more impact on weaker sections of the society....where options are less.

samking009's picture
Maybe this should prove to

Maybe this should prove to them there is really a Hell. Because, think of it, if there is no God, why would there be dream? Which mechanism powers dream? This is a work powered by a Supreme being which is called God. So, they really fear hell and have nightmares because They're prone to for their unbelieves.

Tman127182's picture
I take it you don't know how

I take it you don't know how the brain works? Do you have evidence that a "supreme being" is behind it? The last time I had a nightmare was when I was a kid, so your assertion is pure lack of evidence as usual. You should say this is your opinion rather than fact every time you claim such things.

mysticrose's picture
Humans can be affected

Humans can be affected subconsciously by the things and belief that was pass on him. This affect can trigger dreams regarding something that bothers us. Even though atheists were no longer believe in hell, they tend to think of it still because of the fear that was fed into them by religion that they once cherished. RTS is not a common problem for atheists though it sometimes can cause confusion but one has nothing to worry about it especially if he already commited himself to be an atheist from that time on.

Gardner4224's picture
Here, I am going to explain

Here, I am going to explain how I left Jehovah's Witnesses.
To begin, I have a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Physics and a Master's Degree in Education focusing on teaching mathematics at the high school level. I am currently diagnosed with major depression and other symptoms, and I am legally classified as mentally disabled.

During a convention in Louisiana, I talked to what seemed to be a de-programmer. Let's just say he was of high rank among the Witnesses. Because I had just started earning my B.S., I viewed him as someone either sent by an individual at the university or someone connected to an investigation. I was not in a position to leave JWs. Two years later, in a way taking the man's advice, I tried to figure out a way to leave. Therefore, I told my JW roommate and an elder that I have problems with masturbation. The elder treated the whole thing as no real problem. The roommate obviously told everyone.

Here is the interesting experience. I was going to a SMALL university, the University of South Alabama. (I know more than a few people will call it Harvard by the HIghway.) They had just completed building a facility for events named The Mitchell Center. The first event (or one of the first events) there is a JW convention. I walk in after 'the confession'. The behavior of a significant number of JWs is more than interesting. One male publisher who is a Vietnam Vet talked to me like he was disappointed in me. A number of publishers would not even talk to me. Others ignored me. Others I could not identify were making sex gestures and sex-grunt coughs when walking by. Of course, I am an easy target: my first name is Shawn and it rhymes with the last four letters of the word 'masturbation'. I imagine the stress is comparable to the stress experienced by test subjects in the Milgram's Experiment of 1962. I am not sure if you would call the experience 'being punked' or not.

I did psychologically crack. The unexplained part is that the elders contact my disfellowshipped mother. Two (or three?) elders and my mom show up at my residence one evening. Then I am taken to a mental health clinic.

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