I had posted a blurb similar to this on reddit.com awhile back, and it didn't spark much discussion. This was an important part of my life, and I need to talk to some rational-like-minded people about it! I've spent too much time trying to forget about it, and I really need to talk about it.
Because of living in a house full of metaphysicists, in California, I realized that all evidence-free beliefs was heedless nonsense. And in some cases dangerous.
I grew up on Vancouver Island, Canada (Now live in Halifax). To make a long story short, at 17 (I'm now 24), I graduated high school early and moved down to California for a year. I had met a girl online, and after a couple of back-and-forth trips, moved down permanently to live with her family. It was a huge change for me, but the biggest change was the introduction to "metaphysics".
Now there's a ton of applications for this word. How they used it was the explanation that, with positive thinking, the universe gives back to you. This is true in a very PHYSICAL down-to-earth kinda way. Obviously being positive is probably going to get you further in life rather than say-- being negative. This is common sense. But these people practiced it to the extreme.
They thought Jesus was a metaphysicist, and that with enough positive thinking you can literally do anything. One insane example I can think of, is the Mom convinced everyone in the house that "the banks screwed up" and that her mortgage was gone. She held a massive party and went through great lengths to convince everyone that she was telling the truth. Later I caught her filing for bankruptcy. I confronted her and she told me that she was testing to see, with enough positive thinking, if we could make this happen.
By lying to her family.
She convinced herself that it didn't work because not all of us believed. This made me not only a reaffirmed atheist, but anti-theistic as well. That was one example, but there were many many others. Critical thinking should be a class taught in Elementary school.
Another point I should mention was that I was nearly starving. At 6 feet, I was around 130 lbs and the change in social and physical environment made me have an emotional break down (partly because I wasn't eating enough/drinking enough-- no money). I remember one night I decided I wanted to go home, and because I was paying the Mom a large portion of the rent, and she was unemployed (LARGELY because of her beliefs. She believed with positive thinking, money would just come to her), obviously the Mom didn't want me to leave.
Anyway, one night I had been awake for around 40 hours, starving, homesick, depressed-- and when I told them I wanted to leave, they sat me down and told me that I was meant to be there. That things happen for a reason, and I shouldn't leave. That because I was a good person, good things will happen there for me... I remember for 15 minutes I believed them. Completely. It all made sense. I believed in that garbage for a solid 15 minutes. When I snapped out of it, and realized I wasn't thinking clearly-- that I was being brainwashed (for lack of a better word), I left shortly after.
This is illusive to death-bed conversions, and a VERY real thing.
Just so you know, everything's cool now! I'm not starving anymore. I make short films, and short cartoons, play bass guitar, and am a weapons engineering technician in the Canadian navy.
Any other stories out there from ex-New-Agers or at least people who've had their lives negatively affected by New Age dogma? Anyone else almost convinced by a religion?
OMGosh, I didn't know there were New Age cults, but that surely sounds like one. It looks like the Mom failed to convince the bank not paying and thinking positive would pay off her debt. I've known some New Agers, but none that kooky. I'm glad you're out of there, safe and doing well. I've dabbled in New Age, spiritualism and some of that junk, but I never had a really bad experience with it. That sounds like the ultimate bad New Age experience.
Haha totally! I thought it might be a pretty original story. New Age religions seem so harmless. I really didn't know that I was living with a cult until it was too late. There's really no other words for it. I was living in a small house, with 10 people and about 20 animals. It was disgusting. All of them preaching the same garbage.
I didn't find it that weird because my parents are foster parents (I'm their real son), so I was always living with a bunch of people growing up, with a ridiculous amount of foster brothers and sisters (great experience actually).
What New Age stuff did you get into?
Haha no problem!
Did you/do you feel embarrassed about it? I've always been pretty rational, and for me it's sooooo embarrassing! I was an idiot for staying there so long!
Hey, you were just 17. Embarrassment just keeps people from talking about it, and talking about it can help others stay out of the same mistakes.
I love the logic of "you're here, so you're meant to be here". Is that a valid reason to stay at every crappy job and relationship too? I mean how do you tell when it's "meant" and when it isn't?