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Cognostic's picture

Many of us were once Christian. I was just lying in bed last night and recalling some of my religious upbringing. Doing things and thinking about things the way I once did.

I recall being told to say my prayers when I was 4 or 5 years old. I would kneel by the bed and do the whole "Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake. I pray the lord my soul to take."

Horrible thing to tell a kid. So I recall doing this. Now in the transition area between the living room and the kitchen there was a tall heating unit or air conditioner. It would make a low humming sound. At night, when I walked by it, I always thought of God and a soul. I don't know why? The heating unit was scary. I thought it might take my soul.

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Cognostic's picture
At 16, I was an evangelic

At 16, I was an evangelic christian. A "Jesus People" making a joyful noise unto the lord. I attended Assemblies of God in Pratt Kansas, where I was baptized.

One day I was with friends. We were driving in a car and simply went round a corner when the door on the back passenger side of the car, where I was sitting, flung open. Apparently I had not shut it tightly when I entered the car.

Okay, moving forward to the next day in church. I was a member of a small singing group that played instruments and spread the word of god. Well we had a witnessing segment in our little routine. I remember getting up and retelling the story of the car door flinging open as we raced around the corner and the hand of God holding me in the car. I could have been thrown to the street and killed but God saved me. It was a lie and I knew it. The door has simply opened. I was never in any danger. But you should have heard that story and the applause that came after it. The Lord works in mysterious ways.

Rohan M.'s picture
@Cog Amen! God is great.

@Cog Amen! God is great.

You're right; you were totally not kept in by your seatbelt. It surely must have been God. It makes me feel good to think that this is conclusive evidence that God is real. You must respect my dearly-held belief!

Don't attack me and my faith by pointing out all those countless times that people were wearing no seatbelt in similar situations and were flung from the car to their deaths!

However, sadly this story will likely not get any public attention, due to the anti-God conspiracy, so please hit "agree" if you love God, and hit "disagree" if you love Satan and are in league with his agenda!

Tin-Man's picture
@Rohan Re: To Cog - "You're

@Rohan Re: To Cog - "You're right; you were totally not kept in by your seatbelt."

Actually, during that time period, I somehow doubt there were seatbelts even installed in the vehicle in which Cog was riding. So that certainly could not have been what kept him in the car. Therefore, it simply MUST HAVE BEEN a miracle. It's the only possible explanation.

Tin-Man's picture
@Rohan Re: To Cog - "You're

(Removed duplicate post)

David Killens's picture
Sunday morning. My mom would

Sunday morning. My mom would dress up all four of us kids (3 boys, 1 girl) in our Sunday best and trot us off to the Sunday School, which was conveniently the basement of the church.

My father and mother sat up front,with my sister in the middle. The three boys had to politely sit still in back, instead of the usual elbowing and fighting for the window seat. It was a scene right out of Ozzie and Harriet.

I hated the monkey suit I had to wear, I hated having Brylcreem slathered all over my head to hold down the wild unkempt hair. To this adventurous kid, this was quality time being wasted, when I should be out raising heck with my friends and torturing ants with a magnifying glass.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
Hmm..I had the exact opposite

Hmm..I had the exact opposite upbringing except at the minor semi public (read private for non UK members). My parents never discouraged my curiosity although my father would go on bigoted rants about 'darkies' and 'homos'. He was a high ranking FreeMason and constantly (and very unsuccessfully) encouraged my big brother and later myself to join their ranks, until I became such a disappointment (and emabarrasment) that he gave up.
School ( in England) was entirely and compulsorily High C of E with even more ritual and weekly confession for the few Catholics. Religion was everywhere, morning prayers, grace before meals, prayers at lights out. All of which I steadfastly (after my first week) refused to join in, standing mute in defiance of the yodelling conformists. I also refused to 'fag" (i.e be a servant to the larger boys) and being a lone scot at the time was subjected to racial torment and harassment.
My grandad was a completely different kettle of fish, I spent most of my holidays with him. He was a freethinker, atheist, socialist , a believer in the equality of man. We had many fine chats, I expressed an interest in religion so he bought me an illustrated bible...which we discussed as soon as I had read it...I can imagine all the old biddies at the strictly presbyterian chapel my Nana attended fainting in their boots if they had heard our discussions.
He had a Sikh friend and we had numerous chats about his religion, and attended a couple of naming day ceremonies for his relatives. Although being a 'left footer' was frowned upon (they were considered "durty wee beggars") I had numerous Catholic friends and visited their church on occasion with them. Loved the chanting and the incense...I much preferred the Russian Orthodox who had an exile community just a couple of streets over from my (very rough by reputation) home. They were very kind to a curious child and invited me in several times.
I attempted Sunday School during holidays (Church service was compulsory at my school) a couple of times as my friends had no option but to attend, and as the majority were Presbyterians of one ilk or another were not allowed to do anything on a Sunday. Playing on my own was boring. I did get ejected from the local 'Wee Frees' by asking a question...they would have beaten me as was the custom at the time but my grandad had pre empted them, I later found out, by threatening the minister with dire physical retribution of he dared lay a hand me.

So you can see I was subject to many influences as a child which, through my grandad and much less my parents (who had moved to England, then a very foreign country) which encouraged a curiosity and questioning mind. I had read the Iliad by 10 years old, at school I had a traditional (and dying) 'classical ' education with Latin and Ancient Greek being prominent in the curriculum which contrary to modern opinion gave me the linguistic weapons to read Caesar's accounts of his German campaigns, Plato, Greek tragedies none of which were tainted by the christianity that otherwise swamped the place.

I regarded the religious with a kind of amused toleration, we were in the early 60's and tradition was being trampled underfoot daily..and a bloody good thing! So my childhood directly affected me by turning on my curiosity and encouraging my penchant for questioning authority.
My Grandad was devout Socialist and Union member and was feted by the Russians of the time, He took me on several sponsored trips behind the Iron Curtain before my 12th birthday . More of that if anyone ever gets interested.

Not used to bio ing myself in such detail.

(edit for clarity and grammar)

CyberLN's picture
How fortunate I feel not to

How fortunate I feel not to have had to contend with religion while growing up. Instead, I had to endure other, quite ugly things.

boomer47's picture
My family were bog Irish

My family were bog Irish Catholic , which was very devout, superstitious, and dogmatic.

From age 6, I was taught by Irish Dominican nuns. It was they who taught me about sin and hell .(at age 6!!!)

It has been said that the Jews invented guilt,. While that may be true, it was the catholics who made it an art form.

Tin-Man's picture
I had an Uncle who was a

I had an Uncle who was a Methodist preacher, but my Granny (his mother) was devout Baptist. Although, she would attend his church from time to time on special occasions. Also, my Mom was very religious on the Baptist side. And all of this in a tiny "one-stop-light" town in the middle of The Bible Belt. As you can imagine, it made it difficult for this guy to avoid church as a little kid... *chuckle*...

Anyway, as I have said many times on here before, the whole religion thing never made much sense to me as a kid. Even though it could be fun at times, I went to church primarily because I really did not have a choice. And I remember very distinctly the day I was asked if I wanted to be baptized. I was eight years old, and we were attending a little Fall Festival gathering in the basement of my Granny's Baptist church. Games, contests, prizes, candies, pastries, bobbing for apples, and all around socializing fun, basically. So, I'm sitting at one of the tables admiring a silver half dollar I had just won by being the first kid in the group able to whistle after eating a whole saltine cracker. Competition was tough, but I had big plans for spending that prize money, and was therefore highly motivated... *grin*... Well, while I'm sitting there contemplating the best ratio of bubble gum to hard candy mix, the preacher approaches my table along with my Mom and my Granny. Of course, my first impulsive instinct was, "Uh-oh! What did I do this time?" I relaxed just a little bit when I noticed they were all smiling, but I was still suspicious. (Adults could be sneaky sometimes.) So, the preacher sits down beside me, while my Mom and Granny remain standing, and the preacher tells me, "Hey, I've been talking to your Mom and Granny, and they believe it might be time for you to get baptized. Would you like to be baptized?"

Remember, I was eight years old at the time. Granted, I had seen multiple other people get baptized by then, but I never really understood what it was all about. Whenever I attended a baptism, about the only thing going through my mind was how much fun it would be to swim in that giant tub of water they were in. Otherwise, it was just some strange ritual they did, even though somewhere in the back of my tiny little brain I somehow knew there would come a day when I would be required to do it. Naturally, feeling a bit uncomfortable, my question to the preacher was, "Well, I don't know. What does it mean if I do?"

The preacher answered, "It means you will be forever saved. It means that Jesus will forgive you and you will be saved from hell no matter what you do."

A bit perplexed, I responded, "Well, wouldn't Jesus already forgive me for doing wrong if I asked him to forgive me? What if I want to wait a little longer before I decide to get baptized? Will I go to hell if I don't get baptized?"

Preacher: "Absolutely Jesus will forgive you if you ask him to forgive you. If you get baptized, though, you will be saved and forgiven forever, even if you do not ask Jesus to forgive you. And if you want to take your time to think about it more, that is okay. It is a very big decision to make, and you do not want to rush that decision."

Me (becoming concerned): "But what if something happens and I die before I decide to get baptized? Will I go to hell?"

Preacher (laughing lightly): "No, of course not. Jesus loves you and would not send you to hell for not being baptized. You are a Christian and believe in God, right?"

Me: "Yes."

Preacher: "And you believe Jesus died on the cross to forgive us all for our sins, right?"

Me (trying to be convincing): "Uh, yeah, I guess so."

Preacher: "Well, there you go. Like I said, Jesus loves you, and he will not send you to hell if you believe in him."

Me (confused): "Uh, so why do I need to be baptized if Jesus loves me and wants me to go to heaven with him?"

Preacher: "Because getting baptized means that you will be forever saved and always forgiven no matter what you ever do."

Long story short, a few days later I finally decided I would get baptized. Not because anything the preacher said made any sense to me at all. (I was still baffled by that entire conversation, as a matter of fact.) I made the decision mainly because it seemed like my Mom and my Granny were very expectant of me to do so, and I really did not want to do anything to disappoint them. So I told my Mom, and she got all excited, and she and my Granny made the arrangements with the preacher. Then, one Sunday morning soon after, I waded into the giant tub with the preacher in front of the entire church congregation and got dunked under the warm water and came up feeling even more confused than I had before. Even worse, I noticed I stayed much more anxious and afraid of hell after that, despite the preacher's assurances. For one of the things he had told me during the evening he approached me with my Mom and Granny was, "After you get baptized, the ONLY way you could ever be sent to hell is if you stop believing in God and Jesus." And that scared the absolute SHIT out of me, because even then I was quite often very uncertain about whether or not I believed in any of the things I was taught in church. Yep, good times.... Goooood times....

Cognostic's picture
@LOL: I remember the first

@LOL: I remember the first Christian chick tract I ever received from a Christian on the street. It made so much sense to me. *PASCAL'S WAGER* I was probably about 13 and was attending religious studies after school in an after school program. We made macaroni frames, and painted them gold before placing pictures of Jesus heads in them. I remember the lesson clearly because first we had to listen to a story about how difficult the life of Jesus must have been as he traveled as he did. Then we were told that the pictures of Jesus with the long flowing hair was not really what he looked like. We were instructed to get pictures from magazines that reflected what we thought Jesus might really look like. We shared our pictures with each other and then when it came time to place them in the gold colored macaroni frames, we were given nice 8x11, glossy pictures of the golden long haired clean praying Jesus. I have no idea what happened to that picture. It never made it to a wall in my home.

Grinseed's picture
It was the Trinity of Cecil D

It was the Trinity of Cecil D Demille, Donald Hayne and Chuck Heston who made me a theist. "The Ten Commandments" in Cinemascope and Technicolour at the Holy State Theatre, Market Street Sydney, made huge impression on a pagan ten year old whose family did not even have even a black and white television at that time. The entire Brechtian experience was much more impressive than Rev. Moore's Easter Sunday sermon during which Mrs Bell had her first angina attack, poor old dear. I remember Rev. Moore's grim determination to finish his sermon while the ambulance service noisily carried Mrs Bell away.

Back in the State Theatre, Cecil narrated, Chuck dubbed the burning bush and Donald delivered the 10 Commandments in their deep sonorous tones while I sat awestruck in the darkness. Little did any of the three realise what a power they had unleashed in the form of a remade 10 year old, still embarrassingly awkward but newly empowered with the resources of his newest best friend, the Creator of the Universe, to help smite and lay waste to his enemies in the playground at school.

I never actually got to relive that raw visceral experience again in the next decade of church going. My dedication to Jesus was emotional too but lacked that satisfying basic need for retribution and absolute power, which come to think of it, never really manifested itself in the playground either. In fact for a good long while I think I got beat up even more because of my new found vicarious strength. Mine enemies were never vanquished by rivers of blood, plagues of frogs or even a stray thunderbolt....I think they only stopped persecuting me because they thought I had gone insane, calling down lightning, perpetual darkness and boils upon them. I certainly frightened some of them and one or two of the teachers as well. It might have been my choice to start carrying a staff with me at all times that bothered them most.

NewSkeptic's picture
I was the youngest male

I was the youngest male grandchild on my father's side by about 5 years. As we got older and the other grandchildren began going into their work lives, about the only thing my grandfather ever said to me is that as the youngest, he expected me to become a preacher. (He wanted a preacher in the family and I was his last hope). I never felt such a calling, and out of all of the grandchildren was likely the only one who asked hard questions about religion at least in my head.

One Thanksgiving when I was in college, not studying religion, my father needed me to go pick up my grandfather and bring him over, a 45 minute drive from the farm to our extremely modest suburban home. It was probably the only time I was ever alone with him. Grandma, a very sweet lady, had passed the year before. After I got him in the car, the very first thing he said to me, with an unveiled hint of anger and a large hint of disappointment in me, was that I should have been a preacher. That was about the end of the conversation and made for an awkward at best drive.

Fast forward 37 years to yesterday. I was invited, glory be, to the baptism ceremony for my nephew's daughter. As I am still closeted, but absolutely despise the Lutheran church I was raised in, I had no desire. I kept putting off responding to the invite, but finally chickened out and texted my sister that we would not be there. Well, the Lord was good and my sister and my brother both posted numerous photos of the glorious day on Facebook and I deepened my place as the black sheep.

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