Shortly, after my dedication, my mom stopped going to Catholic Church. Instead, we went to a Baptist Church. I had already been going to a Baptist School, which was never explained to me, and now we were to go to a Baptist church, as well. Now, I guess, we’re Baptists.
Looking back, the pastor of my Baptist church reminds me a lot of the warden from the Shawshank Redemption. What I do remember from the sermons is that they were, what many refer to as, “Hellfire and Brimstone” preaching. The overall tone of the sermons was about how evil we all are, and we need to get down on our knees and beg God for mercy or we will burn in eternal Hell. It’s pretty scary stuff. It’s especially scary when you don’t know much about Heaven or Hell, and you’re not exactly sure what gets you into either place. Why does God want to burn us for eternity? Even, if we were really, really bad wouldn’t we deserve to get out of Hell at some point? Or, just for some mercy, couldn’t he just annihilate the worst people instead of torturing them for eternity?
I found the story of Adam and Eve confusing as well. The short version of the story is that God told the first man, Adam, that he could eat anything in the Garden of Eden except the fruit of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam’s, wife, Eve, was tempted by Satan, God’s advisory, to eat the fruit, which she did. She then convinced Adam to eat the fruit. After eating the fruit Adam and Even knew good and evil. This was the first sin. Because of this, everyone is born with the desire to sin. In the New Testament, Jesus, a new Adam, had to die as punishment for our sins. How could Adam have known eating the fruit was wrong, if he wouldn’t have knowledge of right and wrong until after he ate the fruit? And, how could Jesus be a new Adam if he had always had the knowledge of right and wrong? They said Adam was condemned because he had a desire to sin, but he didn’t have a desire to sin until after he ate the fruit, and he didn’t know right from wrong until he ate the fruit. Jesus always knew right from wrong and had no desire to sin, so he didn’t eat the fruit. So, how is that the same? And, Jesus didn’t go to Hell. He went to Heaven when he died. So, the punishment for “our” sins wasn’t really fulfilled. I mean, people get eternal hell. But, he has only to get crucified, and it’s supposed to be the same? Even, though I was being told more in my new Baptist church, I’m not sure I was really learning any more, and I still wasn’t allowed to ask any questions. At best, they would just tell me to pray about it.