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What Would Jesus Do For A Klondike Bar?


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My journey into Christianity began at a very young age -- so early I can't remember when it started. I just remember that every night, as I got finished playing outside (usually in the dirt!) I would come in and ask my grandparents if we were going to do my favorite thing -- go to church. We lived in a very religious community, and quite honestly it was a very behind-the-times rural town. We lived like we were still in the 1920s. If you wanted to go to a department store or a place with other modern conveniences, you'd have to go to the next city. We had a general store - a real, honest to god wooden general store -- but that's about it. What we lacked in stores we made up with plenty of fishing holes, blackberry patches, forests, and dirt roads. And we had churches. So many churches. And a lot of southern revivals. Every time there was a church service or revival, my grandparents and I would be there. And I enjoyed every second of it.

 

And then my parents came back and decided to parent me as I was starting Kindergarten, and I was thrust back into the modern world. My parents were Christian too (of the pentecostal variety), and we would go to church twice weekly. I was placed in a private Christian School and our family participated in a lot of church events including vacation Bible school (which I loved) and putting on Easter and Christmas plays (not your normal pageants, but productions focused on serious adult acting, which brought in tons of people). I was about 11 when Christianity started to be a problem and not a joy.

 

Our church began what I could only call an aggressive campaign to convert lost souls. The worst of it was a certain film. I have no idea what the film is called or who made it. I barely remember the details, so bear with me. My memory might be getting this wrong. I believe it was about two bikers. One had converted to Christianity and started preaching to the other, who laughed and refused to listen (I believe he mentioned he believed in Hades, not hell). The next thing you know, he's driving on his motorcycle and crashes. His head is severed from his body. It then shows his descent into hell in gory detail. I closed my eyes in several parts but I never forgot it, even to this day. Thus began an incredible fear of both God and Hell.

 

I began to question whether or not God thought I was good enough. I began to think that every little sin would bring me closer to eternal torment. I gave up a lot of things I loved (movies, shows, music, etc) because I did not want to displease God.

 

When in Middle School (still a private Christian School), we went on a retreat to a Bible college. The college had a chapel of its own, and we attended a service there. But during the service, a person with Down Syndrome stood up and started acting like he was speaking in tongues. Now to us puerile middle schoolers, this was funny and a few of us snickered quietly. I did not laugh, but I still thought it was funny (which I am embarrassed by now). It stopped being funny when we got back to our hotel rooms and our chaperones pulled out their Bibles and showed us Mark 3:28-29, and told us that blasphemy against the holy spirit, what they said we had done, was the one unpardonable sin. We asked what we could do, then, if we were never to be forgiven. They said that they guessed all we could do is pray about it.

 

I was already having trouble with OCD by this time but after this, the intrusive thoughts became unbearable. Not only did I question whether or not I was guilty of this sin, but knowing that there was an unforgivable sin made my mind obsess over various blasphemies. I wondered whether god would send me to hell or if he would understand that I couldn't control it, then I wondered if I was already damned and if it mattered. I developed an extreme fear of death and dying and concocted various rituals to guard myself and my loved ones against it, some of which persist to this day (I can not simply tell someone "bye" for example. There is too much finality in it. I have to say "Bye for now," or "See you later.") Every minor health problem brought me extreme fear, made worse when I started having panic attacks and my heart started skipping beats because of them. I was a mess.

 

No matter how hard I prayed, my fear and my thoughts did not go away. "My god, my god. Why hast thou forsaken me?" was on the tip of my tongue every day. But I prayed when I woke up and prayed when I went to bed. And then was born the "rebellion." :P

 

I was a wonderful child, until I became a teenager. Then I rebelled against not only my parents but also God. I went through a phase where I hated him, I hated Christians, though I still believed and I "knew" I was going to hell. I was angry. I was angry at God's stupid plan. I was angry that God allowed me to be in the blasphemous situation at the Bible college in the first place, when I had tried so hard to be the best person I could be to please him, while others said they were Christian and did not act the part. I hated the Christian platitudes. I hated public displays of religion. But most of all, I hated that I could no longer be a part of it.

 

As I grew older I settled down. I began thinking "Well, I'm damned. There's nothing I can really do about that. But I can still try to be the best person and the best Christian that I can, even if God does not acknowledge it." And that's the way I lived for a long time. But I still had a great fear of death and hell.

 

How I got over Christianity is in March of 2011 (yes, this year!) when I stopped being afraid of death and hell for myself, and started thinking about all the people in the world who were damned along side of me, and not for their own faults, but because they had simply never heard of the gospel. I started thinking about how a loving god would not do that to good people... and that started me questioning the Bible. I was very scared at first, but I decided... hey, I've been through worse. And what have I got to lose? So I pushed through my fear and started devouring all the information I could not just about hell, but about everything about the Bible. I watched videos on YouTube. I read books and websites. I watched documentaries. I even took a course on religion in June at my college. :)

 

And here I stand on the other side, happier, freer, and more peaceful than I've been since I was in Elementary School. I felt so incredibly relieved and my problems with OCD and panic have lessened to a great extent (though it is not completely gone). It is funny that what I prayed for, for years, finally happened when I completely lost my belief in the power of prayer. LOL

 

I can say, with absolute certainty on my part, that the God of the Bible does not exist (though whether or not there is some sort of deity, I will never know, but I don't have a belief in one - thus, I am an Agnostic Atheist). I am embarrassed that I ever believed in him. I wonder, to this day, why I didn't bother to think of the problems with the religion. Why was it that I accepted everything -- and so literally too? But now I see how ludicrous it was. I felt like *I* had eaten fruit from a forbidden tree, and MY EYES WERE OPENED. And there is no way that I could ever go back.

 

Nor would I want to.

 

I just have to forgive myself for ever being there in the first place.

 

I hope to help other people who have suffered like I have to free themselves from the lie that is Christianity.

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As a kid and teenager, the thoughts that I was damned on the "top side of God's green earth" as they called it, were very strong. It's a pathetic way to live. Glad you are better, and enjoyed your story. Welcome to ex-c.

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Hello, Jessie, I watched that same movie and it scared me for a long time. I can't remember the name, either. I am enraged by what the chaperones told you...that you would burn in hell forever for doing what normal middle-schoolers do- they act like jerks sometimes and laugh inappropriately. The "unpardonable sin" makes me sick! No one knows what that stupid verse is supposed to mean. I'm so glad you are an ex-c now and are happier and more peaceful!

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Welcome to Ex-C Jessie! That's quite a story! Good for you that you have overcome the fear of hell! That's what kept me in Christianity for a long time and lots of people on this site, both old and new, battle with this fear all the time.

 

Enjoy your freedom!

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"I started thinking about how a loving god would not do that to good people" - It is still so weird to me how many people on this site think better of God than the Christians do. Like you, I could not conceive of a God who was less forgiving, less, merciful and less intelligent than even the best human. While I am strongly agnostic, I am just as strong in my conviction that a sub-human deity like the Christian god is not worthy of worship.

 

Thanks for posting Jessie!

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Jessie,

 

I'm sorry for what you went through as a child. That is terrifying as a child to hear of such a place as hell because we don't have the ability to logically process the info we are receiving. Dr. Marlene Winell goes into detail about this in her lectures aboout Religious Trauma Syndrome. I too was told that I was going to hell over something that many normal children engage in and it created in me an anxiety and fear of God that still torments me. This site is a great place to come when the old tapes get played over a bull horn!

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As a kid and teenager, the thoughts that I was damned on the "top side of God's green earth" as they called it, were very strong. It's a pathetic way to live. Glad you are better, and enjoyed your story. Welcome to ex-c.

 

Thank you for the welcome! :) I'm sorry you felt similarly. It's a horrible thing to be preoccupied with.

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Hello, Jessie, I watched that same movie and it scared me for a long time. I can't remember the name, either. I am enraged by what the chaperones told you...that you would burn in hell forever for doing what normal middle-schoolers do- they act like jerks sometimes and laugh inappropriately. The "unpardonable sin" makes me sick! No one knows what that stupid verse is supposed to mean. I'm so glad you are an ex-c now and are happier and more peaceful!

 

I wish I did know the name of the film. I know that if I watched it today that I would be able to laugh at the absurdity, though I would probably be angry, thinking of all the people (especially children) who were scared into Christianity by it.

 

Reading the verse in context, the chaperones were probably even wrong. Jesus called the Pharisees blasphemers of the holy spirit because they claimed he was casting out demons with the power of demons, or something like that. But as a child, I couldn't revisit the verses because it was too painful. When I finally did, the damage had already been done. lol. In any case, I think it is a horrible thing to do, to tell a child that she or he is forever damned, whether you really think so or not.

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Welcome to Ex-C Jessie! That's quite a story! Good for you that you have overcome the fear of hell! That's what kept me in Christianity for a long time and lots of people on this site, both old and new, battle with this fear all the time.

 

Enjoy your freedom!

 

Thanks a bunch!

 

I think that Christianity, without the doctrine of hell, would hold a lot less people in its grips than it does today. I think a lot of people convert or stay in the fold because of this fear.

 

"Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom." ~ Bertrand Russell

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"I started thinking about how a loving god would not do that to good people" - It is still so weird to me how many people on this site think better of God than the Christians do. Like you, I could not conceive of a God who was less forgiving, less, merciful and less intelligent than even the best human. While I am strongly agnostic, I am just as strong in my conviction that a sub-human deity like the Christian god is not worthy of worship.

 

Thanks for posting Jessie!

 

Yes, you are entirely right. I would not send people to eternal torment, and I would not worship a god that was less than I am. What sort of god is that? The Hewbrew god is a petulant, jealous child, throwing tantrums when his people turn away from them, and raining destruction upon them. When people turn away from me or treat me terribly, it might hurt a little, it might make me angry, but I'm not going to torch their cities or try to drown them (just threaten to). But I suppose fake-god works in mysterious ways. And by mysterious, I mean violent and disgusting.

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Jessie,

 

I'm sorry for what you went through as a child. That is terrifying as a child to hear of such a place as hell because we don't have the ability to logically process the info we are receiving. Dr. Marlene Winell goes into detail about this in her lectures aboout Religious Trauma Syndrome. I too was told that I was going to hell over something that many normal children engage in and it created in me an anxiety and fear of God that still torments me. This site is a great place to come when the old tapes get played over a bull horn!

 

Hmm, Religious Trauma Syndrome. That seems interesting. Are these lectures online or does one purchase them?

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Thanks for sharing your story. The most powerful device for deconverting me was simply reading the Bible at face value and I then realised what a croc it was!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Welcome, Jessie. I'm glad you found the forum. Here's a link to Marlene Winell's site w/an article about Religious Trauma Syndrome. She also has a lecture on it if you search her name on YouTube.

 

http://marlenewinell.net/religious-trauma-syndrome-its-

 

Is this the film you wrote about? I did a quick search and I think this is it. It looks HORRIBLE! Wendytwitch.gif I can only imagine watching that as a little kid! I'm so sorry for all that you suffered. You are obviously a really courageous and strong person to have gotten yourself together after all that. I'm happy for you that you have found the truth!

 

http://www.christianfilmdatabase.com/review/the-burning-hell-el-infierno-ardiente/

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  • 2 months later...

Is this the film you wrote about? I did a quick search and I think this is it. It looks HORRIBLE! Wendytwitch.gif I can only imagine watching that as a little kid! I'm so sorry for all that you suffered. You are obviously a really courageous and strong person to have gotten yourself together after all that. I'm happy for you that you have found the truth!

 

http://www.christian...ierno-ardiente/

 

YES!!! That is the film. Thank you very much!!

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Jesus fucking CHRIST that is a horrible movie to show to a child. I mean, it's horrible even considered as something to show to an adult just because it sounds like 10 kinds of inept moviemaking (even its description sounds damning--a biker is "consoled" by getting told his friend is burning forever?), but to a child?!? Jessie, that was terrible that you had to go through that manipulative horror flick and have adults in your life who damaged you so badly. I'm glad you're here and recovering.

 

I also think it's kind of ironic that non-Christians hold God to a far higher standard than his sheep do.

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