12/13/2010 | Share this article: View CommentsBy Cassie ~
Christianity has been an overpowering part of my life for as long as I can remember. My mother and grandmother, being devout Christians themselves, saw to it that I went to church and learned as much of the Bible as possible. As a child I enjoyed the sugarcoated Sunday school stories of brave and strong men who did the bidding of God, even when odds were stacked against them. Even though I never really felt his presence, I was sure He was real simply because that's what all the grownups I knew told me. But as I got older I noticed all my favorite kid-friendly Bible stories getting more and more graphic. I reacted with intense anger and felt betrayed when I realized with what little value women were to be regarded, according to the Bible.
How could He make me a woman and at the same time shame me for it? Would my God really have me treated as little more than an animal? Is it really God’s will to have my status lower than that of a man's, rather than equal? Why were women made to carry the burdens of life? So men wouldn’t have to? Why should all women be unfairly punished for one woman's mistake?
When I presented these questions to my mother, preachers, and other people who were close to God, I got the answers that I feared. The bible, the word of God, told me that I was unclean and the only thing I deserved to do in life was serve a man of my father's choosing. That only men are truly worthy enough to do God's work and to earn Gods praise. This changed my mental image of God drastically. Instead of seeing him as the Father-God who loved and would protect me, I saw a spiteful God who made me only because my existence was necessary. He made MEN in his image, not me.
I had other questions that not only couldn’t be answered, but were downright offensive. How do we know God is a male? If he doesn’t reproduce with a goddess but creates everything by hand, why would he need genitals at all? Wouldn’t he be genderless? And if God is a male who regards women as dirty and puts men on a pedestal wouldn’t that make him seem a bit homosexual? If he is, then why is homosexuality a sin? And if the Antichrist is supposed to be everything that Jesus isn’t, then wouldn’t he be female?
Regardless of the pain I felt I continued to believe. But nothing was the same as it had been back in Sunday school. I got nothing out of church. I still felt so alienated by God. Bit by bit I completely lost connection with God all together. I tried keeping up appearances for my mother's sake but it didn’t last long. At age thirteen I discovered the Gothic sub-culture. I loved everything about it: the dark style of clothing, the powerful music, and the abhorrence of God. I took it as a way to form my own identity, but my mother wasn’t about to let that happen. She took away any black clothes that I owned. She was determined to make sure all of her Bible-thumping peers saw me as a shiny God-child. As you can imagine, this made my middle school years awkward and painful. Because I couldn’t project the darkness I felt inside through my clothing, I projected it through my behavior. I was soon labeled the weird kid at school. My grades suffered so badly that I was taken out of school in ninth grade and enrolled in an online home-school program. I did manage to form a few friendships, but they didn’t work out. I ended up resenting my friends for having laid-back parents who didn’t force their own beliefs onto them, but just wanted them to be happy. My mother didn’t give a damn if I was happy or not -- I was to obey the rules laid before me by her and by God or face the consequences. Knowing this made me so angry that I would lash out at my friends until they simply wouldn’t talk to me anymore. One girl I hung out with started experimenting with homosexuality. She was hanging out with me at my house one day and made the mistake of mentioning it my mother. She absolutely lost it. My mother screamed a bunch of Bible verses at her; called her an abomination; told her she was going to hell; and made her cry. After that I wasn’t allowed to hang out with her, as if my mother's psychotic Christ-fueled episode wasn’t enough to scare her off forever.
At age eighteen I got sick of my mother's rules and moved in with my father for about five months. Because I could finally be myself I managed to make quite a few friends in and out of school. But my father and I didn’t exactly get along so I had to go back to my mother's. When I returned I found my mother had turned my bedroom into her personal study complete with pink walls and shelves for her dozens of bibles and other religious books. I managed to keep most of my stuff out of her way, but that didn’t stop her from going through it all. A friend that I made when I was living with my dad went to a Wiccan store and bought me some supplies after I expressed to him an interest in paganism. Of course she finds it, and this leads her to go through more of my stuff until alas, she finds my journal. She reads it and finds out that I had a girlfriend when I lived with my dad and decides to confront me about it. She doesn’t take into consideration the fast that I’m an adult and that my sexuality or religious practices are no longer any of her business. She insisted that I tell her everything that happened between my girlfriend and me. I ended up having to come up with explanations for lots of experiences that I had recorded in my journal regarding my time at my father's. And if feeling violated by God yet again wasn’t enough, she also made me put half of my belongings in the spider infested shed outside. She claimed that demons had attached themselves to my stuff and were making her computer act up. She told me that if I refused to believe in God that I was no longer welcome in her house. So here I am, eighteen years old and back at square one. I’m focusing all my energy on getting my own place and having a loving relationship with my mother without interference from God.
I went and got my G.E.D., and I’m working two jobs and saving up. I’m going to enroll in Dental Assistant classes as soon as I get enough money. I don’t have a relationship with God and don’t see myself ever being Christian again. I don’t fear hell. I don’t believe that anyone is so bad that they deserve to burn in hell forever. And even so I don’t want to go to heaven and sit by a god who viewed me as a second-rate creation. If you are an American woman I can almost guarantee that Christianity has had a negative impact on your life. Think about it. America was founded on Christianity, and for the first two hundred and some odd years women had to fight twice as hard as men for anything. I’m not a psycho feminist by any means, just someone who hates the idea of anyone being placed under someone else because of their gender, sexual preference, race, etc. If you are losing faith in God you are not alone. If the way to God is “right,” then I will support anyone who is taking a spiritual journey in the wrong direction.
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