Sunday, February 21, 2010

Oster (Atlanta, GA USA)

I was inducted into Christianity around 9 years, so I remember having no beliefs prior, and the induction being wholly bizarre -- ideas of God, Jesus, eternal life, being born evil but God loves you anyway, Heaven and Hell were completely alien, and horribly inhumane (thought I didn't know the word at the time).

I had no sense of being evil, but since my parents approved of the induction, I assumed they felt the same way.

The youth leaders used direct emotional coercion playing on fears of eternal suffering and eternal separation from loved-ones, saying you have to pray for Jesus to come into your heart so you can avoid those two terrible things. Of course, I desperately prayed, but never felt whatever it was they suggested I was supposed to feel.

By 15-16, it was clear to me that justifications of "for your own good," "because God/Bible says this/that," etc. were wholly against the premise that God is Love and Truth. But I valued both, and sought to understand how people outside my family's religion and culture thought, and found myself very much affirmed about what is loving and what is truthful.

Over years of consistent consideration, I came to realize that most people value love and truth above most all, and use their ideas of love and truth to gauge what they will accept and believe even about Holy texts and ideas about God.

It was my own sense that loving behavior is not cruel which made me a judge of religion by age 9. It is education which gave me the understanding and language to say specifically what is good or bad about religion, and why.

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