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The Downside To Fundamentalist Religious Belief

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Brother Jeff

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Sometimes I feel some nostalgia for my younger days of extreme Christian religious belief. And it is true that when I was very religious I had many good Christian friends, and we had some really fun times together. But, other times, such as today, I am reminded of how awful it was to be locked into that narrow worldview as well. I spent years being terrified that I was not really saved and that I was going to end up in Hell, and I had the same fear for my "unsaved" family and friends. I annoyed my family and my friends about Jesus all the time because I didn't want them to end up in Hell. I even feared that my grandfather, who was a genuinely good man, had gone to Hell simply because my preacher uncle failed to share Jesus with him when he was on his deathbed. I remember my grandfather saying, "Danny, I hope I make it!" And my uncle Danny didn't respond as I would have.

 

What a terrible thing it is to always be terrified that you might not really be saved and that your family and friends might be headed to an eternal, never-ending BBQ.

 

I realize now that it was awful having to believe that everyone who didn't share my beliefs was my enemy and the enemy of my God. I seriously used to strongly believe that everyone who was not a devout fundamentalist Christian was an enemy of God, and they were headed for Hell to be barbecued forever without any hope of reprieve.

 

I realize now that it was awful wanting so badly to be in God's Will and wanting so badly to get real feedback from God, yet except for some emotional highs, I never did. I wanted my family to be saved and I prayed and prayed for that to happen, yet it never did. Not even close. The same goes for my friends at the time. On the flip side of things, they were all very concerned that I was deeply involved in a dangerous cult, and they were right!! My family and friends were very relieved when I finally walked away from such extreme religious belief...

 

So yes, there were some positives to my Christian faith, and I did sometimes have a lot of fun and I often experienced joy, when I wasn't busy being tormented by doubts about my salvation.

 

Are there positives to religious belief? Of course. But there are some very serious negative aspects to it as well. Fundamentalist religion is fear-based and it's ignorance-based as well, and the beliefs can and do cause a lot of damage and mental suffering...

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I remember feeling like that. From second to about seventh grade I tried to convince my friend that she was going to Hell unless she committed to Jesus, although I think I calmed down after a year or so. I got her to go to Vacation Bible School with me eventually, and she "prayed the prayer" under pressure from the adult leader, and me too, because I wanted it so badly. Although I don't think we talked about it, I couldn't understand afterwards why she wasn't enthusiastic about Jesus. >.>

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