Member Beautiful_Dreamer asked the Beliefnet community to share the things that hinder their faith journeys. Members offered a wide range of responses, from certain television shows to romance novels to polarizing discussions. Read these selected responses and share the things that are toxic to your faith here.

Soap Operas
There are a lot of things that we are told specifically to stay away from or not to do in the Bible. But, are there things in your life or in the world around you that might not be bad in and of themselves but you feel the need to stay away from?

...I also cannot watch soap operas or many other television shows that feature infidelity/sexual immorality (which seem to be most of them) or male chauvinist/disrespectful behavior in relationships; not just because I find it immoral, but this brings back some very painful memories and brings to light some very real fears I have for the future. Television is not a bad thing in and of itself, but I have to watch the content rather closely.

Are there any things that you [...] feel the need to stay away from because they are toxic to you and your faith, even if they are not necessarily bad in and of themselves?

Cheesy Romance Novels
Many, many years ago I used to devour (shameful blush) those cheesy Harlequin romances. They were cheap, easy escapism at a time when I was a single mom, stressed, busy, and very lonely. But I came to realize they were having a toxic effect on both my faith and my relationships. I have been sleaze-free for a decade or so.


Rehashing Past Events
Oh, here's a more serious one--rehashing real and perceived growing-up issues with my parents. I'll think that I've gotten over some event that happened 30 years ago, and then it'll pop back into my head, usually when I'm upset about something completely different.

Celebrity Worship & Shopping Malls
Up here we have a nauseating little off-shoot of 'Entertainment Tonight' (which also pollutes our TVs in Canada) called 'E-Talk Daily' and it's that cult of worshipping celebrity that I find toxic! I'm also not a fan of half the stuff on TV. I admit, however, to being a fan of 'Law and Order' (the original), but I'm going to have a hard time this fall adjusting to the fact that Lenny Briscoe (Jerry Orbach) has retired.

I also do my level best to stay away from the Hell's Angels, Harlequin romances (which are merely soft pornography), and shopping malls!


Polarizing Discussions
There are certain _topics_ that I personally find toxic to discuss, either face-to-face or on forums like this one, basically because there's no learning or attempt to at least gain mutual understanding -- everyone has sorted themselves into one camp or the other, everyone thinks all the folks on the other side of the issue are evil incarnate, no one really listens to one another... And when I do get embroiled in these sorts of topical discussions, I wind up holding people on both sides in contempt -- I'll be sitting here, reading posts, thinking, "Oh, for God's sake, SHUT UP ALREADY." And _that_ isn't a healthy way to think or treat people. So I am learning to recuse myself from conversations that appear to be polarizing into that situation.

I believe that anything can be toxic. To much of anything; anything that brings on longing and obsession is toxic. As a child, I drank too much milk. It made me sleepwalk and have bad (to my way of thinking) dreams. Milk then was toxic to me.

IMO, anyone that has to be in church every time the door opens (and feel miserable about not being there) or can't enjoy life because they are too wrapped up in their guilt trips--that too is toxic. So anything that creates a hangup or obsession in your life is toxic to you... regardless of what it is or how it effects someone else.


"Uber-Christian" Mentality
No offense to anyone here, but there is a certain type of what i call "uber-christian" mentality that I find very toxic. Can't stand to hear about anything other than their own path...can't stand to not be the one talking, as far as i can tell, and all of it narrow, threatening ("you'll wind up in hell someday, and then you'll be sorry...."), hate-filled, fear-filled, and just plain sad. It makes me angry to see them haranguing other people and it brings up alot of my own past issues with that particular faith and why i left it...again, not productive to moving on along my own path.

Temptations & Deception
The things that have become toxic for me are those areas of temptation that lead me away from my walk with JESUS.

It wasn't always clear to me through out my life what walking with JESUS entailed.. As I have found that a love for HIM keeps me from the toxic thinking and actions that make my life miserable.

...So the bottom line for me, whatever leads me me away from JESUS in my opinion is toxic. And usually deception is a big toxin that sneaks under the covers of a healthy outlook. Eventually you have to face the truth.


What's toxic to YOUR faith?

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