Was anyone here raised evangelical or equivalent?
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13-02-2017, 07:42 AM
RE: Was anyone here raised evangelical or equivalent?
(25-01-2017 11:23 AM)julep Wrote:  I was raised evangelical. When I was about 2, my father started trying to get various Baptist churches to appoint him as a pastor. He could only get part-time, temporary gigs, and the church he ran for a brief time out of our house petered out quickly. After about five years of this, my father then got a full-time job in a jail ministry, and he spent 10 years as a chaplain in various jails and prisons and ran a halfway house for ex-cons trying to adjust back to society.

As you can imagine, my childhood was full of church, god, and the Bible. Every day we had to discuss a Bible verse at breakfast; we went to church on Sundays and Wednesdays; we prayed together multiple times every day; many conversations worked their way around to Jesus; Christian-themed children's books were all over the house; my parents read the New Testament in Greek to each other on Saturday mornings; we were shoved into parks to witness to people about Jesus; etc. etc.

I accepted Jesus as my personal savior when I was 5 years old and divorced Him at around age 15. At 15 I was still a believer in the Christian god, but I had also read the Bible cover to cover about 10 times by that point and had become appalled by that god. I worried about going to hell, but couldn't stomach going to heaven. By around age 20 I'd come to the conclusion that the Christian god was as improbable as Zeus and started thinking of myself as an atheist.

For me the study of Christian books was enough to raise doubts, and once I was living on my own I was able to express my doubts without fear of retribution. But as much as Christian documents influenced me, Christians influenced me more.

I got to study Christian "charity" up close and personal. These experiences made me forever skeptical of people who say atheists shouldn't criticize religion because it helps people be "better"/more moral than they would be otherwise. The Baptists who funded my father's prison ministry made sure he would be working long hours for below-poverty-line pay. They donated their ugliest, rattiest clothes to us and then laughed at us for wearing them. When we brought the ex-cons (often Black and Latino) from the halfway house to church services, the pews where we sat were surrounded by a couple of rows of empty pews.

...and when my mom ran off with one of the ex-cons, the Baptists fired my father, and everyone at the church stopped speaking to us kids (my father made us keep going to the church, even though my mother was gone and he wasn't going, he was spending his Sunday mornings crying). We were bad seeds and bad influences and weren't wanted.

My little brother stayed Christian, but became Episcopalian, which is as far as you can get away from Baptist and still stay Protestant. My little sister isn't Christian. I'm not Christian. Two out of three ain't bad.

That might just be one of the saddest childhoods I’ve ever heard of julep. Sadcryface Hug

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13-02-2017, 08:40 AM
RE: Was anyone here raised evangelical or equivalent?
(13-02-2017 07:42 AM)Full Circle Wrote:  
(25-01-2017 11:23 AM)julep Wrote:  I was raised evangelical. When I was about 2, my father started trying to get various Baptist churches to appoint him as a pastor. He could only get part-time, temporary gigs, and the church he ran for a brief time out of our house petered out quickly. After about five years of this, my father then got a full-time job in a jail ministry, and he spent 10 years as a chaplain in various jails and prisons and ran a halfway house for ex-cons trying to adjust back to society.

As you can imagine, my childhood was full of church, god, and the Bible. Every day we had to discuss a Bible verse at breakfast; we went to church on Sundays and Wednesdays; we prayed together multiple times every day; many conversations worked their way around to Jesus; Christian-themed children's books were all over the house; my parents read the New Testament in Greek to each other on Saturday mornings; we were shoved into parks to witness to people about Jesus; etc. etc.

I accepted Jesus as my personal savior when I was 5 years old and divorced Him at around age 15. At 15 I was still a believer in the Christian god, but I had also read the Bible cover to cover about 10 times by that point and had become appalled by that god. I worried about going to hell, but couldn't stomach going to heaven. By around age 20 I'd come to the conclusion that the Christian god was as improbable as Zeus and started thinking of myself as an atheist.

For me the study of Christian books was enough to raise doubts, and once I was living on my own I was able to express my doubts without fear of retribution. But as much as Christian documents influenced me, Christians influenced me more.

I got to study Christian "charity" up close and personal. These experiences made me forever skeptical of people who say atheists shouldn't criticize religion because it helps people be "better"/more moral than they would be otherwise. The Baptists who funded my father's prison ministry made sure he would be working long hours for below-poverty-line pay. They donated their ugliest, rattiest clothes to us and then laughed at us for wearing them. When we brought the ex-cons (often Black and Latino) from the halfway house to church services, the pews where we sat were surrounded by a couple of rows of empty pews.

...and when my mom ran off with one of the ex-cons, the Baptists fired my father, and everyone at the church stopped speaking to us kids (my father made us keep going to the church, even though my mother was gone and he wasn't going, he was spending his Sunday mornings crying). We were bad seeds and bad influences and weren't wanted.

My little brother stayed Christian, but became Episcopalian, which is as far as you can get away from Baptist and still stay Protestant. My little sister isn't Christian. I'm not Christian. Two out of three ain't bad.

That might just be one of the saddest childhoods I’ve ever heard of julep. Sadcryface Hug

It wasn't fun, but I learned a lot. At this point--now that I've had years and years and years to process it--I find my childhood both enraging and motivating. I had ways to escape mentally, as I fell in love with books and music very early in life (fortunately my parents approved of books and music). I could retreat into my head and think about Tolkien or Brahms instead of all the crazy stuff.

My background helps me appreciate what I have. Probably most people would find nothing remarkable about a middle class family living in a moderately sized house in an unfashionable Boston suburb, but it's strange and wonderful to me!
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13-02-2017, 09:03 AM
RE: Was anyone here raised evangelical or equivalent?
(13-02-2017 08:40 AM)julep Wrote:  
(13-02-2017 07:42 AM)Full Circle Wrote:  That might just be one of the saddest childhoods I’ve ever heard of julep. Sadcryface Hug

It wasn't fun, but I learned a lot. At this point--now that I've had years and years and years to process it--I find my childhood both enraging and motivating. I had ways to escape mentally, as I fell in love with books and music very early in life (fortunately my parents approved of books and music). I could retreat into my head and think about Tolkien or Brahms instead of all the crazy stuff.

My background helps me appreciate what I have. Probably most people would find nothing remarkable about a middle class family living in a moderately sized house in an unfashionable Boston suburb, but it's strange and wonderful to me!

Owning real estate in MA is a definite accomplishment! Smile
Are you close to Boston? My only regret living on the cape is the drive to get to Boston. I love that little city Smile

"If you don't have a seat at the table, you're probably on the menu."

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13-02-2017, 09:38 AM
RE: Was anyone here raised evangelical or equivalent?
(13-02-2017 09:03 AM)ShadowProject Wrote:  
(13-02-2017 08:40 AM)julep Wrote:  It wasn't fun, but I learned a lot. At this point--now that I've had years and years and years to process it--I find my childhood both enraging and motivating. I had ways to escape mentally, as I fell in love with books and music very early in life (fortunately my parents approved of books and music). I could retreat into my head and think about Tolkien or Brahms instead of all the crazy stuff.

My background helps me appreciate what I have. Probably most people would find nothing remarkable about a middle class family living in a moderately sized house in an unfashionable Boston suburb, but it's strange and wonderful to me!

Owning real estate in MA is a definite accomplishment! Smile
Are you close to Boston? My only regret living on the cape is the drive to get to Boston. I love that little city Smile

Love the Cape, but it's a pain to get there!

My town's 14 miles from Boston. On a good traffic day I can get from my driveway to downtown Boston in 20-25 minutes.
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13-02-2017, 09:53 AM
RE: Was anyone here raised evangelical or equivalent?
Nice! Enjoy the snow today Smile

"If you don't have a seat at the table, you're probably on the menu."

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16-02-2017, 01:07 AM
RE: Was anyone here raised evangelical or equivalent?
I was raised in an evangelical household and was indoctrinated into the faith as quickly as possible. There were a number of factors contributing to my leaving the fold, so to speak, such as a teacher who tried to instill in his students the value of a healthy skepticism and critical thinking (At the time however, I did not realize that these could be applied to Jesus as well as everything else; you know how it is, baby steps). But what really forced the issue for me was developing atheist friends. I was determined to "save them from hell" by converting them. The problem was that they had valid arguments and difficult questions that I had no good answers for. So I became determined to research various atheist viewpoints and find answers for them that were in line with my theology and also logically sound. Aaaaand, after a very long and very painful journey through the internet I came to the conclusion that the answers that I had been looking for simply didn't exist. The arguments against Christianity were far more convincing to me than the arguments in favor of it.
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