Sent in by Kat
I was raised in Maryland under strict gospel Baptist teachings: salvation, hell and damnation, witnessing. Christianity permeated my entire life. I was active in youth groups and Christian-based school activities (i.e., "Prayer at the Flagpole," which is actually a violation of the commandment of Matthew 6:6: "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly").
I entered theological studies and became a lay youth minister at 22, on the fast track to becoming ordained and leading my own flock (note the use of sheep analogy when discussing Christians: sheep are docile and easy to control). Fortunately for me (unfortunately for the church as they lost a very active missionary), I began to think about how my life lined up with the teachings I was given. I was born a child of rape, which made my mother (who has recently made apologies) resent my very existence. The resulting abuse led to low self-esteem, severe depression, alcoholism, and suicidal episodes. I remember being 17 and calling out for God to just take me; if Heaven was so much better, why was I doomed to suffer the way I was? According to the Bible and my family, I was possessed by a demon. Which is hilarious, since i had lived my life as sin free as humanly possible.
I kept looking for some hidden sin that was keeping me in extreme pain, and drank the pain away. The pattern continued through two marriages and three lost babies. At age 23, during an alcoholic binge, I felt the pain of living so deeply that I attempted suicide for the last time. That's when the stupidity of my position hit me. Wasn't life to be enjoyed, not spent worrying about whether some childish, spoiled god was able to bribe my love with promises of eternal bliss? And who was this god, to offer eternal pain and agony for rejection of the "love" that was offered?
What kind of love is that?
What parent (and I know, for I am finally a mother) demands that their child love them, but uses threats of suffering to gain that love? Having freed myself from the oppression of Christianity, I met and married the love of my life, and spend my days raising my son and discovering myself and the universe. I have never been happier.
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