Sent in by Wayne
I can remember being sent to church as a kid. Not any specific denomination, mind you. I think it was just convenient for my folks to cart me off for a few hours every Sunday. I'd been to Protestant, Baptist, Evangelical, Lutheran and even to a few Catholic services (too much of a workout for me, however).
I didn't really start seeing the cracks in the wall until one Sunday at a Baptist church just south of Seattle. I had been shipped off to this church for almost a year at this point, so I knew the routines pretty well - an hour of Sunday School and an hour of the "full service". At the regular services, there were always new families coming and going. It wasn't odd to see new faces in the pews every week... and then it happened.
A black family came to church one Sunday (I'm saying BLACK because I don't know if they were "African-American, Haitian, or something else, so please try not to let a word get anybody in a tizzy). They came in and sat in the row in front of me. When the service started, and our VERY Southern Bbaptist minister reached the pulpit - he almost immediately pointed them out and "welcomed" this family to the church. I know it doesn't seem to sound strange, but get this - he had NEVER done that with any of the myriad WHITE families that came to church. At the tender age of 10 - I began to question why.
Needless to say, they didn't show the following weekend.
I stopped going shortly thereafter. I basically begged to stay home, and my folks finally caved.
Now, during my years of "churching", I made friends, had some really great meals, and had some real fun - but I never really felt a connection to what was being said for the most part. Most of the "love thy neighbor" stuff seemed to me as just common decency, and I had serious internal conflicts with the concept of a "loving God" who allows suffering on this planet. the stock answer was always the "god's will" or "it's all part of his plan" kind of thing.
I'm really glad that I finally let go of all of that stuff. I've never felt more hope for the future than I have now. The whole concept of god just seems silly now. I guess I'm happiest about that now I don't need to question horrible or wonderful events with the "god frame" around. They just happen, and we live our too short but wonderful lives.
Freedom from religion dropped so much stress from my mind. I really feel truly free now!