I have a confession to make: I like religions.Scientology to be the most interesting 'religion' (if I can call it that), because of how they bait others to follow the teachings of L Ron Hubbard. Sadly, I realise my experience with Christianity was very much like what happens in Scientology.
I think a little background information is needed. My mother was never religious; she considers herself an atheist, yet, confusingly, she regularly speaks of the biblical God in familiar terms (sort of like "Thank God I'm an atheist", I suppose). And then there's my father. Oh boy. Let's put it this way -- he can get along with any person, assuming they're white, English, middle-class, and a Protestant. He is racist and absolutely hates Jews because "They killed Jesus and they're too proud to admit He's their Lord". To add a twist of irony to the tale, he came from a working-class background, has Catholic icons in our house, his father was a German and his mother Welsh, and he married a woman (i.e. my mother) who would be, under Jewish law, considered a Jew.
So, I don't think you need to be intelligent to work out which parent introduced the kids to Christianity. Unfortunately (and I'm quite ashamed to admit it) I was the most pious of all the three kids. When we were toddlers, who were all sent off to Church, and we later moved on to a Baptist Church, where we remained for the majority of our childhood. Each and every Sunday we were indoctrinated with the teachings of Christ, as interpreted by the pastor, and when I turned four years old, I went to 'Girls Brigade' which is a sort of even wimpier Girl Guides organisation (I later went to Scouts... more fun, less religion), which was held on a Monday. On these Mondays we would all sit around and sing 'hip songs' about following Jesus and then we played games. As a kid, it was all good fun, which was why I stayed until my early teens (at that point, I had grown up).
Girls Brigade used to hold a Summer camp as well. We would go to places in the middle of nowhere, and these 'fun camps' consisted of the following regime: Wake up, dress, go to breakfast, say prayers and sing hymns, eat breakfast, make lunch, go out to some godforsaken place, say prayers, eat lunch, come back, play games, go to dinner, say prayers, sing hymns, eat dinner, listen to a religious story (usually Maximus Mouse stories), go to listen to one of the leaders preach about Jesus, sing even more bloody hymns and saying even more bloody prayers, go to our beds, say prayers, go to sleep. This happened every day for a whole week.
Easter service was on the following lines, "And so THE JEWS crucified Jesus, because THEY didn't believe he was God, and Jesus died BECAUSE OF THE JEWS. But later, Jesus rose again, yet still THE JEWS DON'T BELIEVE HE IS GOD. When they die, they will go to Hell, but we believers will go to Heaven, because Jesus died for our sins!"Needless to say, I hated it.
The leaders were all batty, to make this worse. I remember one time when we were on the beach, and I refused to get changed to go into the sea (I was, at the time, slightly on the pudgy side, so I was sensitive about my appearance). One leader, let's call her Beatrice, who was the battiest of them all, came over and said, "Oh, don't worry, Bobbin, you'll be just like Eve in the garden of Eden!" and before I knew it I was standing on the beach, completely starkers, much to the amazement of most people on the beach, and much to the joy of all the pedophiles. To make it worse, my sister reportedly took a photo of me in all my glory.
The leaders didn't like me much and were suspicious of me, anyway. After I stole one, measly gummy bear off a girl, others copied what I had done (this shows you how easily influenced these people are) and so I got into trouble for it. I was a 'terror', according to them. I also had a habit of asking too many questions. "Beatrice, why does Jesus say he's God, yet he is also supposed to be the son of God?" "Ask the pastor" (translation: I haven't a bleedin' clue. Now bugger off.)
This is the 'lighter side' of Church. What I had also experienced was an extreme mass of brainwashing of antisemitism. Easter service was on the following lines, "And so THE JEWS crucified Jesus, because THEY didn't believe he was God, and Jesus died BECAUSE OF THE JEWS. But later, Jesus rose again, yet still THE JEWS DON'T BELIEVE HE IS GOD. When they die, they will go to Hell, but we believers will go to Heaven, because Jesus died for our sins!" ...and so on. I even asked my father once, "Who are the Jews?" because no one actually told me this answer. "They killed our Lord, Jesus, and so they do not accept him as God. Quite simply, they are satanists." Yes, believe it or not, that was the actual reply I got. I grew up with that definition. It was until much, much later (actually very recently) that I learned who they are, and of 'that horrendous secret' that I'm actually directly descended from them!!
So what was it that made me escape that madhouse? It was partly to do with the fact that I realised that the Old and New Testaments to not add up, and basically, I went through that 'There is no God' phase that the majority of teens go through. Also, the mass brainwashing was not particularly to my taste. My father is disappointed in me, of course, but at the same time, he finds it no surprise. And, I am glad to say, I am not planning on going back to Church. No way. Despite the fact that my parents (yes, even my mother, for some bizarre reason) keep urging me to join the Christian Union at my University. I'd rather die and go to Hell, assuming such a place exists.
Filed Under: Testimonials