The Trying Years
Sent in by Jerry
The Trying Years
Where to begin? Even as young as 5, I have never taken to Christianity. I was an outstanding academic pupil at the earliest age. That also got me into trouble with my religious mother. You see an inquisitive mind wants to know things that a zealous black American Pentecostal mother from rural Arkansas doesn't want it knowing.
I started reading fantasy books and comics as young as kindergarten. I loved reading stories and was fascinated by the most elementary knowledge from other cultures. I devoured National Geographic, Time, Newsweek, etc...
It was only when I entered early elementary classes that my mother noticed I took more to comics, fantasy books, sci fi, mysteries, and mythology than I did to the Bible. She would actually come into my room and snatch my Norse mythology tales from my hands to replace it with a Sunday School book. I found Bible stories boring and the Bible silly. It just didn't appeal, interest, or make sense to me. She did wonders for my growing apathy when I had a bug fly into my ear, and despite the debilitating pain she never took me to the hospital. What did she do? She poured "blessing oil", which is olive oil, down my ear and prayed for it to heal. I actually passed out from the pain when the moving creature didn't drown fast enough. You think I'm joking? When I was around 9, I had a rattling cough, swollen joints, high fever, and was bed-ridden. She spread "blessing oil" on my chest, laid on hands, and prayed for God to remove this demon of sickness. It worked after a week of prolonged sickness. Guess the demon couldn't take another second of her rants.
When I entered my teen years, things became seriously worse. My mother was in full evangelical fury and had occasional forced family prayers on our knees and the laying of hands. I was doing local teenage labor such as mowing yards, and could afford my own comic subscriptions or fiction books. She actually thought of them as witchcraft and when it came to my modern jazz it was the devil's way to lure you into sin.
Now get this. Around the age of 14, I actually tried to talk to my mom God's supposed
existence. I cannot tell you how bad that discussion went, but a stinging on my left cheek should give you an idea. After the "discussion" she surprised me with a little gift that Sunday. I was unexpectedly asked to the altar during the "Call to Prayer". When I walked up, I was surrounded by all the deacons and the elder stepped down. He told the audience (not a congregation at this dramatic point) about my discussion with my mother aka traitoress. Then the men of the church proceeded to pray and drive the devil that had driven me from the light. Have you ever heard of temporary hysteria? I experienced it. I started laughing at the absurdity of it all. Ready for it? The audience actually thought it was the possessing devil fighting back against the deacons' prayer! You should have seen how many women jumped to their feet to add their raucous to the performance. I am not kidding. Even upon returning home, my brothers and sisters looked at me with some fear.
Well into my adult years now, I have long since had the "discussion of belief" with mom. She is deathly afraid to discuss religion with me due to my calm approach. She doesn't even ask me to attend church with her when I visit. Why didn't she learn during my younger years?!?
Well, I did enjoy some aspects of the Pentecostal church. I liked the charismatic music and gleefully watched women run down the aisle, spasm, and pretend to pass out. Other than that, the screaming preacher kept disturbing me while I was reading one of my fantasy novels that I had snuck in.
Online Reading List
- An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish by Bertrand Russell (1943)
- Bible Teaching and Religious Practice by Mark Twain
- God is Imaginary
- Is there an Artificial God? by Douglas Adams (1998)
- Skeptics Annotated Bible
- The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1795)
- Which Way? by Robert Ingersoll (1884).
- Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell (1927)