U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Religion and Spirituality
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 01-27-2008, 03:38 AM
 
Location: Mississippi
6,715 posts, read 12,704,226 times
Reputation: 4302

Advertisements

No, this isn't a story about UFO's, this is a story about how odd things can get when you are in the military and need help. This is a bit of a spin-off of another thread about Atheists embracing God before death and the resulting conversation about Atheists in foxholes. For the record, Atheists in foxholes do exist, I suppose you could say I was one, and there is an Army group currently in Iraq right now that goes by that name as well.

To make a long story short, when I had finished boot camp I had a bunch of things go south back home. Seeing as I was only in my technical school six hours from home, I desperately wanted to get back. For one, I was homesick, and two, I had some private affairs that were really getting the better of me back home and I felt out of control.

I went to the "Nut Job Shop" (as was so eloquently referred to by the drill instructors in Basic Training) to just sort of vent. I made an appointment, went into the counseling session and the first thing I was told was that any information I give to the counselor can, and most likely, will be told to my unit commander, unit first sergeant, and my direct superior so that they can make a fitful determination of my "performance abilities". If I was looking to talk to someone who was held under military law from speaking to the authorities or my commander, then I needed to go see a chaplain. So, what's an Atheist supposed to do? Just become miserable and go insane?

Things were getting worse and I finally conceded to talk to the chaplain. The way I figured it, he probably gives advice to people on a daily basis and as long as I just listened to the advice that didn't invoke God than I'd be alright. At the time, the only chaplain available was a Protestant one.... figures....

I went and met him and he was very cordial. I explained the situation to him and I could feel that by just being able to talk to someone I was feeling better already. It wasn't this huge, emotional, catatonic trance where I was bawling my eyes out to him. I just needed to tell someone about some things and since this was the only guy who the military let keep a secret it looks like I was stuck. So.... he gave me some advice, assured me that things would get better and asked if I would like to pray to "The Lord Jesus Christ". I told him "Thanks, but no thanks, I am an Atheist, but I do appreciate your time." He sort of nodded his head and politely thanked me for coming and that was that.

So, it worked. I felt better. Things were good, but looking back on it, it really irks me that the only person I could go to that could keep a secret was a chaplain. That's ludicrous! My question, and I suppose topic for discussion, is this:

Why should I, as an Atheist, have had only one available method of recourse (the chaplain) if I had a legitimate concern? Surely I could have gone to the therapist. Looking back on it, I don't think that the therapist would have had to report anything to my unit commander because what I divulged wasn't really that big of a deal. However, I was fresh out of boot camp with an overdeveloped superego and was scared that any negative light that shone on me would destroy me. Ultimately, I was forced, by default to have to seek the help of a chaplain. Although he did help me just by listening, I don't know what to make of it or why it's fair to think that a chaplain could help more than a therapist. Perhaps I should go back into the military as an "Atheist Chaplain"???

Oh, one other thing. Every time you get to a new base they make it no secret that the Chaplain is the best method of help, especially if you want him to keep a secret. Yuck!
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 01-27-2008, 04:32 AM
 
Location: The world, where will fate take me this time?
3,162 posts, read 10,829,638 times
Reputation: 1435
weird man!

I'm glad that at least you have someone to talk to, and that it is not trying to convert you but sincerely listening.

being in the military must be very hard, so having a good friend is good.

about what you mentioned of being an atheist chaplain, maybe you could learn from this experience and become a great atheist friend, who listens who makes others feels better

nice post!
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-27-2008, 06:27 AM
 
13,635 posts, read 22,693,863 times
Reputation: 18505
I agree Troop..Although some chaplains are also educated and degreed counselors most are not..Just my opinion, even though I am a believer, I would never take my problems to my minister (if I had one)..I would prefer to go to someone who was able to counsel me according to the things they learned about the human mind in some good school of psychology and had been practicing for some time..I will take my own spiritual matters to God, since it is a personal thing...
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-27-2008, 06:38 AM
 
Location: Mississippi
6,715 posts, read 12,704,226 times
Reputation: 4302
Quote:
Originally Posted by blue62 View Post
I agree Troop..Although some chaplains are also educated and degreed counselors most are not..Just my opinion, even though I am a believer, I would never take my problems to my minister (if I had one)..I would prefer to go to someone who was able to counsel me according to the things they learned about the human mind in some good school of psychology and had been practicing for some time..I will take my own spiritual matters to God, since it is a personal thing...
I agree. Where I think the militay draws a wavy line (and I think you're going to hear about a TON of cases in this Iraq War) is that people are afraid to go see a therapist. Even once you get past the training environment the negative stigma that seeing a therapist implies to your military career is horrible. You can't make an appointment at "Mental Health" without people harassing you so they changed the name to "Life Skills". Still, the point is that the privacy factor involved is not there. You would not feel safe sharing something with a therapist because it COULD come back to bite you. I don't mean that you're sharing past crimes either. I was worried that they wouldn't send me overseas if I told a therapist about my problem. It wasn't a major problem at all, it was just something I wanted to get off my chest but the fear of not being able to go overseas was enough to keep me from letting my unit commander possibly find out. The sad part is that it is the unit commander who is ultimately going to make the decision of your "situation" and determine your "capabilities" NOT the therapist!!!! Of course, you can just walk right over to the chaplain, spill your guts, and not have to worry about a thing!

Well, the chaplain doesn't work for everyone and I think it's a great injustice. You can make an appointment in the books for "The Chaplain" and no one will say anything, but if you make an appointment for "Life Skills" you're automatically assigned "Looney Toon" status. I assure you, you're going to see a lot of issues coming out of this war and although I'm sure many, if not most, are seeking guidance from the chaplain, the therapist approach is largely seen as an unapproachable one in the military and praying just isn't going to fix the problem. It really is a shame.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-27-2008, 06:57 AM
 
13,635 posts, read 22,693,863 times
Reputation: 18505
Most of the chaplains I ran into when I was in the military (revolutionary war) were pretty decent people who did good at listening, but I agree that an athiest may or may not be comfortable because he/she may think they will be given the "God lecture", instead of sound advice..
This is ot, but gonna say it anyway..What if athiests could refuse to serve in combat because of a new athiest belief in nonviolence? Christians can..
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-27-2008, 07:06 AM
 
Location: Mississippi
6,715 posts, read 12,704,226 times
Reputation: 4302
Quote:
Originally Posted by blue62 View Post
Most of the chaplains I ran into when I was in the military (revolutionary war) were pretty decent people who did good at listening, but I agree that an athiest may or may not be comfortable because he/she may think they will be given the "God lecture", instead of sound advice..
This is ot, but gonna say it anyway..What if athiests could refuse to serve in combat because of a new athiest belief in nonviolence? Christians can..
Honestly, I really don't know. I suppose it's possible but since there is no "atheist doctrine"... Heck, I don't know.

I agree that most of the chaplains were pretty decent people. They didn't go around the base trying to get "preachy" but they were there to "get preachy" if you wanted them to be. My issue isn't with the chaplain(s) at all, but the idea that they should be the only one held in high enough regards that they are the ONLY one's whom you can tell your innermost secrets to without fear of reprisal. Ridiculous, I say.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-27-2008, 07:17 AM
 
Location: among the chaos
2,136 posts, read 4,531,183 times
Reputation: 993
Troop,
I agree that the military needs some help in the zone of "just needing to talk". My sister has always been a military wife (previous and present marriages). In her previous marriage, they were stationed overseas, her husband (who was in a fairly respectable position) had a very serious drinking problem. It was very stressful for her marriage and often times a dangerous situation for her daughter and herself. She tried to seek help, but was told that it was not in the best interest of his 'career' for her to speak of the situation. I don't know if it was the branch of the military that he was in, but it was also common knowledge that if they (the military) had wanted you to have a family, "they would have put it in your backpack". Needless to say, she ended up flying back to the states and getting divorced. He lost his family because it 'wasn't good for his career' (which he eventually lost also).

In reference to your personal situation and I'm sorry that I feel it necessary to say this, but it is what I 'believe'. God placed the right chaplain in your path. This was a man who was willing to listen and not force any religious hubbabaloo down your throat. It was exactly what you needed.

Also, in reference to blue's comment on not going to her clergy...I would like to state that I would not hesitate and have gone to my priest for any advice/therapy. I believe that he is a man who truly holds God's heart in his. If I were led to go to him (my priest), I believe that it would be at the prompting of my God and the advice that he gave me would be from God.

may we all be richly blessed,
weather...
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-27-2008, 07:26 AM
 
Location: Mississippi
6,715 posts, read 12,704,226 times
Reputation: 4302
That was a good story weather, thank you for your input. As far as the "Military Issued Family" goes, that sounds inherently like the Marine Corps, but I could be wrong The military now is quite supportive of their members having families, although there is still a lot of the "old school" mentality lingering around.


And, of course, I am going to disagree with you that God put the "correct" chaplain in my path.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-27-2008, 07:38 AM
 
Location: among the chaos
2,136 posts, read 4,531,183 times
Reputation: 993
Quote:
Originally Posted by GCSTroop View Post

And, of course, I am going to disagree with you that God put the "correct" chaplain in my path.
I knew you would...
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-27-2008, 07:52 AM
 
7,874 posts, read 11,223,760 times
Reputation: 3658
How 'bout God putting the best "therapist" (the chaplain) in your path at that moment in time?

(Sorry, I just couldn't resist...)
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Religion and Spirituality
Similar Threads

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2021, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top