9/28/2013 | Share this article: View CommentsBy ljo ~
My indoctrination started when I was 12. My 22-year-old sister had this grand idea that she was going to teach me and my brothers the Word of God. She would pick us up every Thursday and Wednesday and take us to a Four Square Baptist Church. What does Four Square even mean? My mom never went with us; she always had some excuse. The church members made us very well aware of what sin was and where we would be headed if we chose not to follow the word of God. I just knew that my mom was bound for Hell. I love my mom and I wanted her in heaven with me. After the church had us watch the movie "Rapture," I started having nightmares of my mom being left behind and burning in flames. I hated bed time. I feared falling asleep. I was a basket case. This went on through my 9th grade yr. I stopped attending church on a regular basis and the nightmares finally ended. I did continue going on occasion, because I feared God and I knew it was my duty to keep him somewhat close in order to get into Heaven.
Jumping to age 40, I was blessed with a little boy. I was determined not to let him feel the fear that I have felt my entire life. I was going to raise him with no knowledge of Hell. I kept him out of the church and attended without him. Approximately one year ago, my son, age 9 asked me "Mom, Who is God?" My heart sank. I had this horrible feeling in my gut. What kind of a parent am I? Not only was I keeping the fear of Hell from him, but I had unintentionally forgot to teach him about God. After a few minutes of silently beating myself up, I asked him "Where do you think we came from?" He said "The water, why?" I can't explain the feeling that rushed over me. I then asked him "Where did you learn that?" He said "The Discovery channel." Was he speaking of evolution? I told him that I would get back to him later about his God question and went straight to my computer. I started researching evolution. My research then led me to Richard Dawkins and then Atheism. During my journey through the web sites, I cried, I screamed, I became angry. Within days of research, I was no longer a believer in God or his Hell. It angers me that I spent all these years in fear. For What? Nothing, absolutely nothing! I located this wonderful children's book online "The Magic Of Reality". I ordered it and upon receiving it, I handed it to my son. I told him it would explain the God he asked about along with many others.
I decided it was time to phone my mom and tell her about my Atheism. I had no idea how she was going to react. I first told her of my nightmares of her burning in Hell. I then told her about my son's question about God, and then of his response to my question about where we came from. I told her about my research. And now mom, I am an Atheist! Her response to me "I had no idea you had such fears, had I known, I would have reassured you that I wasn't going to Hell. Honey, I never attended church with you because I'm Agnostic." The tears flowed from my eyes. I could barely speak. I asked her "Then why didn't you just raise us with your non beliefs?" She said "Honey, what if I was wrong?"
I am angry because it was religion that caused my mom to question herself. I am angry because the church stole from me. They stole my personality. They stole my sanity. They stole my money. They stole my life! I will not allow this to happen to my son. I will not allow them to corrupt his mind. He, my 9yr old son, with just a few words "changed my life"!
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