The end is near!

First things first: there were Jesus Freaks with signs out on the street corner this morning! A woman and what were probably her two offspring, holding signs with Bible verses about accepting Jesus. I wondered what sort of signs I’d hold up on a street corner, but I could only come up with “The end is nowhere in sight,” which isn’t very good.

Also, a friend that I thought wasn’t speaking to me (and the feeling is mutual, I guess) (it’s complicated) sent me an email this morning. Thanks for that. I really needed the stress of wondering how to respond. Jerk face. (An immature insult always helps me feel better.)

So the Jesus signs on the street reminded me of my childhood. My dad tells me that I wanted to be a Christian because I was afraid of going to Hell. I don’t remember that. But it sounds about right. If you tell children that they are sinful from birth and that they are going to Hell unless they accept Jesus into their hearts… instant Christian. It’s the easiest thing in the world. Jesus I love you I accept your sacrifice for my sins I repent in Jesus name amen. Done. Now… let’s get back to causing trouble!

So now, since I was taught the only way to be a good person was to be a Christian (and I didn’t have to actually do anything), as an adult, I have to teach myself ethics. The version of Christianity I grew up with was cognitive dissonance from the beginning. I want to be good, and since I accepted Jesus into my heart, he makes me a good person. So now I can just get back to doing whatever I was doing, and be good if I feel like it. Or not. Either way.

Spanking didn’t work for me. I loved to be sneaky and creative and do what I wanted just because it was what I wanted. Once, when my mom told me to stop reading and go outside and play, I put on my roller skates and skated up and down the front-yard sidewalk– still reading. I remember skating along, thinking, haha, I’m still doing what I wanted.

Don’t get me wrong; I know that Christians are moral people. They are human people, after all, and it’s built in. But I think Christianity hurt me just a bit more than it helped me. My poor dad knows this, and he feels a lot of guilt for raising us such wackaloon Christians. I’m really over it, though. I think he was surprised that I am an atheist, though. He knew I wasn’t a Christian any more, but I think he assumed I was in the same place he is, with a good, loving, internal light, Buddhist sort of God. I mean, you have to believe in some kind of God, right? Right?

Well… no, dad. Happy Christmas!

Remember Julia Sweeny, telling her parents she’s an atheist? Their response: “I know you don’t believe in God, but an atheist??”



One Response to “The end is near!”

  1. teambaby Says:

    Is that from Julia Sweeney’s essay from “The Year’s Best Nonrequired Reading”? I LOVED that essay; it really was the final tiny push I needed to start openly acknowledging my atheism.

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