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Personal Experiences with the Religious
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03-09-2011, 11:07 PM
Personal Experiences with the Religious
Like many of you, I was brought up to be religious, attending Lutheran, Catholic, and Evangelical Christian schools until I reached university. I became an atheist when I was about 15 and have since faced my fair share of religious tongue-lashings and conversion attempts. Looking back, I am sometimes surprised by the messages I was sent by Christian adults and friends, even back before I showed signs of 'straying' from God.

I thought it might be interesting to begin a thread in which we discuss our experiences with religious people involved in our personal lives - friends, teachers, parents, siblings, etc. - along with what they were attempting to teach us and how we responded.

There are tons of stories I could share, but I guess I'll begin with my experience with extremely religious adults at my high school. I took an online theology class taught by a Fundamentalist who shot down any talk of evolution and any questioning of literal Biblical 'truths'. After some debating and numerous warnings to squelch my doubts (because I was engendering more doubt than I was destroying, according to him), he finally informed me that he was going to contact my school since he believed I was leading others astray. I compiled a 30-page document, consisting mainly of quotes, detailing what had occurred in class and delivered it to the online office. Luckily my school was (surprisingly) on my side. The online program director had a son who taught theology and a daughter who taught English. My old theology teacher was fired, and I transferred into the director's son's on-ground theology class. My apostasy only grew.

In the meantime, this boy in my English class whom I hardly knew suddenly began speaking to me on a personal level, inquiring about my faith (and, specifically, why I had decided to write my research paper in favor of macroevolution and in refutation of intelligent design). I was flattered that this boy had actually spoken to me, but then saw him march right over to my English teacher and tell her everything. I later found out that he had discussed my atheism with my new theology teacher, as well. After getting this information from me, he never spoke to me again. At the end of the year, I asked my English teacher - a younger woman whom I had always admired and wanted desperately to like me - to write in my yearbook. Her message was focused almost solely on religion, as she implored me to accept Jesus as my personal savior because he loved me, 'beyond logic, beyond science, beyond reason'. He was, in short, 'beyond understanding'. My respect for her totally diminished... especially since she didn't want anything to do with me after graduation. (So much for my eternal soul.)

Sorry for making this so lengthy... What are some of your experiences? What were the people like who tried to 'save' you? What was the topic at hand - science, Scripture, morality, sex? What did you do?

As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods;
They kill us for their sport.
- Shakespeare's King Lear
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04-09-2011, 12:47 AM
RE: Personal Experiences with the Religious
I had some strange experiences as a child. I was raised by an atheist and a lapsed Catholic. This was in the 80s, there wasn't really the whole atheist movement, Mom just didn't talk about religion. Even now, all she'll say on the subject is "it just doesn't make any sense to me." But there wasn't any talk of skepticism or rationality in particular, it just wasn't a subject.

I had some friends that went to sunday school and asked me to go. Sure, why not? And it was cool at first. They told stories, we did arts and crafts, and we went out to play. I was always a child interested in science, and read everything the school library had on such subjects.

One day the Sunday School teacher decided that it was an appropriate venue to talk about evolution with a bunch of 8 year olds. She took a puzzle and dumped all the pieces on the floor. She said "Now, see how all the pieces just land in a big pile? You wouldn't expect them to all fit together, would you? They wouldn't just happen to land so they make a picture, someone has to put it together. That's what Darwin says, if you dump out the puzzle all the pieces will just fit together." I did happen to know what she was talking about, and told her that evolution happened over a long time, and if you dumped the puzzle out over and over for millions of years eventually they would all go together.

(That was my 8 year old understanding. A better metaphor would be that if two pieces happened to fit together, they would stay together the next time the puzzle got dumped. Maybe. Even then its pretty weak.)

Eventually, I had the shocking realization that these people thought the stories were all true. Even the grownups! I mean I'd sit and listen to stories, but Noah and the Ark or Jesus turning water into wine weren't any different to me than Jack and the Beanstalk. I know that's a common expression among atheists, but for me that really was true. And I'd realized that this place I'd been going to were (to me) like they all really thought there were magic beans and geese that laid golden eggs out there somewhere.

It weirded me out and I stopped going. I imagine they were grateful, because I kept asking uncomfortable questions.[/i]
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04-09-2011, 09:17 AM
RE: Personal Experiences with the Religious
Im sorry to hear about what you went through WR......I havent had such an experience but I do have an account of religious "madness".

I was walking through my town center a few years ago when I saw a guy in a sleeping bag with chains wrapped round him trying to escape.......he head a small crowd round him and I stopped to watch. There was a girl who came over and asked if I would like a drink of hot chocolate TBH she was hot so I said yes ha ha.

She gave me the drink and I asked were they an amatuer circus or something and she explained they were a christian young adults church and then she immediatly dived on my religious views and if I believed in god........Cool

So we talked about it and I hit her with some deep views on creation and duakity and proof (or lack of) of gods existence and she couldnt answer my questions bless her......so she got her teacher to come over.

I repeated some of what I said to the girl and do you know what his answer was.........."its about your own personal relationship with god".......i thought for a second that maybe he was sane......so I asked about the rules of the church and he agreed with them.

On that paradox I left Rolleyes

For no matter how much I use these symbols, to describe symptoms of my existence.
You are your own emphasis.
So I say nothing.

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