"A lifetime of indoctrination…"

I got a kind of amazing comment yesterday by bexie on my Atheists and Anger post (kind of amazing that it’s still getting comments all these years later!), and I wanted to quote it here in its entirety so people wouldn’t miss it. Take it away, bexie.


“And I’m angry that their religion, which if nothing else should have been a comfort to them in their old age, was instead a source of anguish and despair — because they knew their children and grandchildren were all going to be burned and tortured forever in Hell, and how could Heaven be Heaven if their children and grandchildren were being eternally burned and tortured in Hell?”

This right here is the original thing that led to me losing my Christian faith. I was raised Christian, by my Baptist mother. We went to church every week, and I liked it – I liked the hymns, I liked the other children there, and I liked skipping up and down the aisle to the music when the hymns were being sung (I remember my favourite was ‘Shine Jesus Shine’). And for a while, I liked Sunday School, until I hit about ten years old, moved up to the next age group, and we stopped just being told the nicey nice stories about what Jesus did. I remember one Sunday School session being almost exclusively about the following passage from the Bible (I forget where in the Bible it’s from, and the wording may not be exact, but):

“I am the way, the truth, and the light. There is no way to the Father, except through me.”

And we were told that this meant the only way people could get into heaven was if they accepted Jesus Christ. Everyone else would go to Hell.

This didn’t sit right with me, even then. I remember raising my hand and saying “What, even nice people? People who don’t do anything bad?” and was told that not believing in Jesus made them bad people, and that’s why they would go to Hell.

We were also told “All sins are equal in the eyes of the Lord” – so if we told a small white lie, like the good old “The dog ate my homework”, in the eyes of God, this would be the same as going out and murdering someone – which even to my childhood self, seemed like a completely and utterly crazy concept. It made absolutely no sense. I didn’t understand why these adults, who were supposed to know so much more than us, could actually say such a thing.

But back to the not believing in Jesus = Hell thing. This caused me much, much panic and terror and crying later on, once I’d had time to think about it, because I remembered – my father, who was divorced from my mother, who had never harmed anyone in his life, and who, in my opinion, was the single most wonderful, amazing and greatest person in the universe, had told me, after I asked why he didn’t go to church, that he didn’t believe in God.

And according to what I was taught at church, by the minister, the Sunday school teachers, my own mother – this meant that he would go to Hell.

I didn’t want my daddy to go to Hell. Why would God ever want to send him to Hell? He’s such a wonderful man – and he has primary progressive multiple sclerosis. He’s been in a wheelchair since I was about seven years old, and will never walk again. Over the years since, he’s been slowly losing the use of his arms and hands as well as his legs, is confined to his home, and lives in almost constant pain. So according to my Church, God gave him a horrible, progressive, incurable disease, that makes him suffer greatly in life – and then punishes him further when he’s gone by sending him to be tortured for an eternity in Hell?

Why would anyone WANT to believe in a God like that?!

And then, later, I came to another realisation – Heaven was supposed to be a paradise, where we all lived happily for eternity. But for me, it wouldn’t be Heaven unless my Dad would be there, too. How on earth would I EVER be able to enjoy a paradise, knowing that my own dear father was suffering an eternity of torment in Hell instead? It wouldn’t BE heaven. It wouldn’t be a paradise.

And that’s when it struck me – the whole promise of Heaven is a complete and utter lie. They promise me Heaven – yet also promise that my father would go to hell – meaning that it wouldn’t be Heaven. And in the years since, not just my father – my sister, who is atheist. Practically all of my friends. My fiancé, who is Jewish. According to what I was taught, they would all go to hell.

So basically, if I went to Heaven, I’d be totally alone (apart, it must be said, from my mother, and while I love her with all my heart she does my head in after a couple of hours on earth, an eternity with ONLY her for company would be… gargh) with the knowledge that everyone else I’ve ever loved or cared about was burning in Hell. And at risk of sounding like a broken record… that would mean it’s not Heaven.

And that’s what eventually made me stop believing in God, Jesus and religion in general – because isn’t the whole POINT of religion “Do what it says here and you’ll go to a lovely place when you die”. That’s what it all revolves around. Not just Christianity, but ALL religions revolve around something good happening when you die. And if that isn’t true… then the whole thing is a lie.

I didn’t come to all these conclusions that day when I was ten, however. It took a long, long time before I finally realised this truth – or maybe I realised it then, and it took me that long to accept it. It wasn’t an easy thing. In those years I still went to church, Sunday school, and when I was older, Bible study sessions. Each one seemed to slowly push me further away, as I found problems with more and more things I was being taught as fact.

But you know what… sometimes, even though I’ve now been an atheist for years, and I’m now a woman in my twenties, I sometimes still sit bolt upright in the night in terror, thinking “What if there IS a Hell, and I end up there?”

A lifetime of indoctrination is pretty hard to completely shake off.

"A lifetime of indoctrination…"

31 thoughts on “"A lifetime of indoctrination…"

  1. 2

    bexie’s post pretty much echoes my own realisation, but for me there was another major aspect which apalled me: the gross and explicit bigotry of the “no belief in jesus = hell” concept, which is pretty much the whole rationale for the destruction of local and indigenous cultures worldwide by Christians over the past several hundred years, and still feeds much of the ignorance and racism of the religious right today.

    As a child I marvelled at BBC and Channel 4 documentaries on anthropology, including some of David Attenborough’s work and Agland’s excellent work on the Baka people of Cameroon. And I realised that all of that wonderful diversity, all of those intricate traditions, and belief systems that often hold elements that Western humanists would recognise, and peoples who have been in existence for millennia, were apparently worthless in the eyes of god. Why would god create all of these peoples, and let them exist for so many tens of thousands of years without ever revealing himself to them, only to turn around in the recent past and decide that (no matter how good their individual lives or how peaceful their communities, and no matter how much they lived in harmony with the world he supposedly created) they were only good for one thing – fuelling the fires of hell. Why? That’s just… evil.

    Meanwhile, white Christian societies with their near universal lack of respect for “creation” and their penchant for enslaving and disenfranchising indigenous peoples were A-OK in god’s eyes and could go to heaven..

    That’s just so fucked up.

  2. 4

    How lucky I was to go to a very liberal Methodist church, where the entire concept of hell was dealt with mostly by embarrassed silence. My own transition out of religion was much more cerebral and far less traumatic. The heaven/hell contradiction described here is extremely clever. I am only glad I was not similarly abused enough to have need of it before I gave up on religion.

    The whole game is emotionally stirring promises and threats about things that cannot be verified, isn’t it? It is horrifyingly obvious why the most vulnerable would be the most susceptible to the emotional appeals, and why they are the primary targets of those who want to promote their religion.

  3. 6


    My interest in other cultures also led to my disbelief. I realized that people around the world invented religions to explain a world they didn’t understand. But it took a long time. I remember thinking at one point “I’m really lucky I was born into a Catholic family since all those other religions were made up.” Finally, it occurred to me. “Oh, wait…”

  4. 7

    I have to admit I’m luckier than many, religion never really took with me despite sunday school and church attendence mandated by my parents. Growing up it didn’t seem any more real than the Mickey Mouse Club or Howdy Doody. There was some underlying influence there but not strong. A combat tour knocked that into the trash pretty quickly though. Seems to me people hang onto the notion of gods as a way to excuse their worst impulses, to themselves at least. They can do the most vile things and just saying “I’m sorry” to this entity makes it all ok again. Just another way to dodge personal responsibility.

  5. 8

    @ nora, #6

    Hi nora,
    Ha! I remember once around age 10 when I was a Catholic altar boy (which actually was a pretty positive experience) I was cleaning the church and found copies of a booklet akin to the Watchtower. I flicked through it and found it was anti-evolution and anti-Catholic, and was probably left by someone hoping to change parishoners’ minds; I brought it to one of the priests who looked through it in front of me. I asked if these people were “bad”, and he laughed and said with no sense of irony whatsoever, “no, just a little misguided”. He then went out in front of a church full of people to talk about a resurrection that was necessary because all children are born evil. So I began to wonder about who, exactly, was misguided.

    Religious teaching began to make less sense after that, but it wasn’t till 22 more years passed that I finally shook off the last elements of religious faith. Indoctrination, again – I knew none of it made any sense, but was convinced there must be some truth in there somewhere.

  6. 9

    In CCD I asked about how we were supposed to be happy in heaven if we people we knew and loved (or even people we didn’t know and didn’t love) were being tormented in hell. I was told that God would change my heart so that I could be happy. I didn’t push the issue because I was really young and somewhat afraid of adults, but I remember thinking that going to heaven would mean the erasure of my personality. The real me would be scooped out and replaced by a personality that lacked my sense of empathy. If that’s what going to heaven was, then how as it any different from my “self” dying along with my body?

  7. 10

    I went to Catholic school in the 1980s in Canada (Western Canada, but redneck as it can be, it’s still Canada). Most of my teachers were young, guitar-playing peace and love types that told stories about Jesus in a way that left me with the impression that he was this nice person who was simply asking people to try and get along in spite of our many differences. My family wasn’t terribly strict in its religion so questions were never discouraged, especially by my dad. I wasn’t very old when I started asking questions.

    My epiphany about the veracity of heaven came when my pet hamster died. One of the few nun/teachers at my school expressed her sympathy and I said, “But I’ll see her in heaven so it’s okay.” She then, rather tersely corrected me by telling me that animals didn’t have souls and didn’t go to heaven. This made no sense to me. Animals seemed better than people in my small mind (and still in my adult mind) and it didn’t play that if heaven was so great that I’d be missing one of my favourite things.

    I remember this as the first moment that I started to suspect that I was being sold something that I didn’t want to buy.

  8. 11

    In some ways, it’s harder to break free from ‘liberal’ faith than the more conservative strains. I grew up as an altar boy in a racially diverse Episcopal congregation near Chicago. They took the mission to care for the poor aggressively (food pantry, clothing drive, a community garden, even a program to adopt one homeless family at a time to get them back on their feet), all of which was provided without proselytizing. I was told very explicitly growing up that Paul wasn’t Christ, and thus his writings were, at most, no more authoritative that those of C.S.Lewis or any other Christian writer–possibly inspiring or illuminating, but not infallible. And I was told that, under no circumstances, should I assume that someone else was bound for Hell–Christian Exclusionism was roundly denounced as a sin of spiritual pride.

    [Joke told often when I was growing up: St. Peter is showing a new arrival around, and it’s this sort of pastoral cloud setting with lots of different people, and Pete’s saying how the Baptists are over here, and the Pentacostals are over there, and the Epsicopalians are on this cloud, and there’s the Buddhists, and the Hindus, and the Jews and the Moslems and the athiests and skeptics (seriously!). Finally, the new arrival asks about the wall they’ve been walking along. “Shh… the Catholics are over there. They like to pretend they’re the only ones who made it in.”–that’s pretty much the attitude towards Christian exclusionism I was raised with.]

    C.S.Lewis’ The Great Divorce was another influence–again, the notion was presented that anyone might/could get into Heaven once they were dead, regardless of their beliefs while alive, so long as their spirit was strong enough to set aside misconceptions after death. “Hell” was where you chose to be if you didn’t want to go to Heaven, not a pit of sulphur and brimstone.

    It quite seriously wasn’t until I was in college that I had any real contact with the sort of Christians that I seem to encounter all the time now–the ones who genuinely believe in all the others being cast into Hell and suffering in eternity. By then, I’d had so much exposure to liberal Christian thought that I drove straight into True Scotsman territory without blinking–clearly, these people were in error, and would be in for a surprise when they died. My reaction when a dear friend told me he had become an atheist was to nod, look at how strong his own ethics were, and decide he’d probably make it into Heaven before I did, because he was so unflinching in his willingness to embrace evidence (and thus, when he died and went through that analogous experience from Lewis’ Divorce, he’d set aside any misconceptions almost immediately, while I was sure to struggle and hold onto them).

    So, yeah, it took me a lot longer to feel any kind of ‘push’ to break from my faith, simply because my faith didn’t seem like it was causing any harm at all.

  9. 12

    Only the namby-pamby Christians leave the church because they are worried about relatives burning in hell. As far back as Tertullian, the preachers have been reminding the flock that when they get to heaven god will organize it so that they will enjoy watching their relatives being tortured. Here’s Thomas Aquinas:

    In order that the happiness of the saints may be more delightful to them and that they may render more copious thanks to God for it, they are allowed to see perfectly the sufferings of the damned

    The blessed in glory will have no pity on the damned.

    Divine justice and their own deliverance will be the direct cause of the joy of the blessed: while the punishment of the damned will cause it indirectly.


  10. 13

    “…how could Heaven be Heaven if their children and grandchildren were being eternally burned and tortured in Hell?”

    I recently told a devout relative that “she” was not going to heaven because the person who she is now, who I know loves me and cares for me, will somehow be transformed, when she enters heaven, into somebody who who will look down from Heaven On High and see me writhing in eternal flame and pain, and basically not give a shit.

    So whoever it is looking down on me won’t be “you”, my dear Aunt.

  11. 14

    I grew up Jewish, and Judaism doesn’t really have a Heaven and Hell the way Christianity does. So I always find it weird when people say that’s the whole point of religion. Not really. Judaism has a very vague afterlife but we really don’t talk about it much.

    Although, when I heard that that is what Christians believe, I always thought it was really stupid. I didn’t know about the ‘believe in Jesus requirement,’ I just thought it was ‘good people go here, bad people go there.’ I still thought it was stupid. Sure, it might work for Gandhi and Hitler, but those are extreme examples. And surely a God could come up with something less childish than that! And no, adding Purgatory doesn’t make it any less stupid.

  12. 15

    All sins are equal in the eyes of god. Then they use the ‘judge analogy’ ignoring the fact that if there were an earthly judge who considered every legal infraction to be equal, such a judge would be considered insane.

  13. 16

    Hi, this is a post I originally did in Pharyngula’s “Thunderdome” section. I’ve already received responses, but a large part of what I wrote concerned you, only I was only able to paraphrase from memory parts of your Chapter 8 of your recent book since I only borrowed the book and I don’t own it. I’ll also preface by quoting what I said about why I didn’t come here first:

    …Oh, and in case you’re wondering why I’m not bringing this to Greta, I was under the impression from what I was told recently she’s suffering a really bad illness, so I didn’t want to burden an unwell individual. So I came here instead, since I say this place get a big recommendation in her “Resources” section.

    So here’s the post I made in Thunderdome, in full. I’d appreciate it if you address it in full too, since something I know atheists hate is double standards, and I don’t want you to fall victim to having quote-mined:

    Hello, I’m a Christian ID and Creationism advocate, and I’d like to take issue with the scientific method and the derision of Christian beliefs and creationism/ID as established fact.

    It is a myth that science and Christianity are at war, one owes its existence to the other. There is a great deal of accord between Christianity and science, and science is one of the greatest sources of evidence for the Christian worldview, in fact.

    People tell me that science is great because it “eliminates biases” and when applied “properly”, it’s becomes true even if the testers are biased. I’d word this differently (because the scientific method absolutely does NOT always prove the theory)…instead, I would say that it provides reliable results that either confirm or disconfirm the hypothesis (the theory only comes into existence after a hypothesis is tested and confirmed).

    Most day early scientists were Christian, and many of them still do believe in God/the soul/the metaphysical/basic creationist theories. In fact, many are brought to this belief by the things they find in science. Why do you think this is, everyone?

    I then get people responding by saying “Oh, but those early day Christian scientists actually tried scientific experiments in order to prove that those things were existent and what their true natures were so that all the arguments about them could be settled once and for all!” But I would like someone to list those experiments that secular “science-minded” atheists claim did this. The fact is that this isn’t what happened at all. What happened is that natural philosophers explored nature as a way to learn more about God. They believed that nature was rational and discoverable because God made it and He made us with the ability to discover it. I don’t doubt there were a few people here or there who tried to prove a point. But early science was an exploration of nature, and it was motivated by a belief that nature was discoverable because God made it.

    An atheist friend pointed me to a book by Greta Christina just released. I actually found it quite entertaining, and had empathy for a lot of her complaints. That said, her Chapter 8 (“Evidence against God” or something like that) was utter garbage, especially when she mentioned this (and I’m going by memory here, because I don’t own the book, I only borrowed it, but I took a note of this phrase because of how memorable it was):

    contrary to the rigorously-gathered, carefully-tested, thoroughly cross-checked, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, replicated, peer-reviewed research that has obeyed the Gold Standard of scientific evidence wherein methods have been used to filter out biases and cognitive errors as much as humanly possible” evidence that is gathered for evolution, creationism/ID/God claims only stands after careless, casual examination based on wishful thinking and confirmation bias

    This is interesting. Because it’s exactly these forms of studies that have pointed to the incredible fine-tuning of the initial conditions of the universe. And it’s not merely Christians who are claiming this. Most cosmologists, Christian or otherwise, scratch their heads over this extraordinary finding in nature. The same can be said for the evidence pointing to the beginning of the universe out of non-being and other areas.

    Further, the mere existence of the Placebo Effect is evidence that naturalism (which you seem to profess) is wrong. The Placebo Effect could not exist in a purely naturalistic universe where all operates on cause/effect. Given that that placebo has no causative powers, there is no effect possible. And yet the one taking it believes there that powerful medicine is at work, so there is a change (and this has been seen in profound areas like Parkinsons Disease symptoms being reduced by simply believing in the sugar pill). This points to an unembodied consciousness with the ability to impact the physical body.

    Add to this things like the peer-reviewed studies by Pim van Lommel (published in the medical journal Lancet) confirming the existence of Near Death Experiences (and by this, I mean extra-body experiences where people have verifiable experiences of people and places and conversations at geographic distance from where their body lies on an operating table…in some cases, these are people born blind who have never seen anything their whole life, but are able to accurately describe what they see while “dead”)…bottom line, atheists, science is on OUR side here!

    Greta Christina also mentioned something about (again, just paraphrasing here) :

    poor understandings/instincts of creationists/IDers/Goddists when it comes to probability, and the tendency of creationists/IDers/Goddists to see patterns and intentions where none exists, in addition to intrinsic cognitive biases and weird human brain wiring that creationists/IDers have

    Here, we just have a garbled mess that’s a mixture of ad hominem (“you don’t understand probability”) and false claims (“your brains are wired wrong”). She’s likely talking about some books released about our brains being wired to believe in God, and perhaps the “God Helmet” experiments.

    First, the “brain is wired” arguments have been disproven because no single area of the brain has been shown to be “the spot” for this sort of thing (I can go into more depth on this if you want to walk down that alley). And the “God Helmet” nonsense is just that…people aren’t Christians because they have an ecstatic experience. We are because we have weighed the evidence, we have reasoned logically, and we concluded that the best answer is that God exists.

    It’s not shallow thinking. It’s not bad wiring. It’s rigorous deductive conclusions based on evidence of multiple sorts.

    Us creationists and Christians also get accused of by many atheists (including you in your book) of:

    They are completely dishonest, for one main reason: their claims have failed to stand up to serious testing

    I don’t think the case is as open and shut as you guys claim. I tend not to spend a great deal of time advocating for ID, and ID is not part of why I believe in God. I’m okay with the idea that evolution may have played a significant role in our present complexity. I do not accept that it happened alone, and I draw that conclusion for two reasons:

    1. Scientific studies pointing out that the age of our solar system is not old enough for unguided evolutionary processes alone to have been responsible for life’s present complexity

    2. The absence of any explanation for how life sprang into being out of non-life

    In summary, guys, it seems that you’re quite willing to mischaracterize Christians, post things that are unsubstantiated claims without any support or evidence, and proclaim victory. That doesn’t work here, I’m afraid. If you want to make the case that Christianity is at war with science, you’re welcome to do so. But I can show you a number of very prominent scientists who arrived at their faith based on the very science you claim is conclusively against Christianity.

    In fact, I’ll leave you with a couple of quotes that may help:

    Paul Davies (British astrophysicist):

    “There is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all….It seems as though somebody has fine-tuned nature’s numbers to make the Universe….The impression of design is overwhelming”.

    – from “The Cosmic Blueprint”

    Alan Sandage (winner of the Crawford prize in astronomy):

    “I find it quite improbable that such order came out of chaos. There has to be some organizing principle. God to me is a mystery but is the explanation for the miracle of existence, why there is something instead of nothing.”

    – from the article “Sizing up the Cosmos: An Astronomers Quest” in New York Times

    Frank Tipler (Professor of Mathematical Physics):

    “When I began my career as a cosmologist some twenty years ago, I was a convinced atheist. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that one day I would be writing a book purporting to show that the central claims of Judeo-Christian theology are in fact true, that these claims are straightforward deductions of the laws of physics as we now understand them. I have been forced into these conclusions by the inexorable logic of my own special branch of physics.”

    – from his book “The Physics of Immortality”

    In fact, here is a brief interview of Dr. Francis Collins, who was once an atheist, set out to prove his atheism was true, and then decided that God does exist after all: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGwf63SfzyU . And here is a much longer lecture he gave, in which he talks about the evidence for God and why he left his atheism for Christianity: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32UGgy-P0yU

    Collins is, as you may know, part of the human genome project and one of the most highly regarded scientists in the US today.

    Bottom line, atheists, your confidence in this matter is quite overblown. You may assert all you’d like. But the facts do not support your certainty.

  14. 17

    To clarify, I mean you’ll be able to make sense of my paraphrasing, since you obviously wrote your book, and also there’s no such thing as having too much feedback, and some especially helpful feedback if I’m mistaken would in fact come from the person whose book I referenced.

  15. 18

    “1. Scientific studies pointing out that the age of our solar system is not old enough for unguided evolutionary processes alone to have been responsible for life’s present complexity”

    Where does this come from? It’s not correct. Overwhelming evidence indicates that our solar system is about 4.6 billion years old, certainly long enough to contain the (overwhelming) fossil and molecular evidence for evolution.

  16. 19

    I sometimes still sit bolt upright in the night in terror, thinking “What if there IS a Hell, and I end up there?”

    Not sure that is so much *all* “indoctrination”, so much as, “Such a large number of people believe it, on some level I can’t help but sometimes get a bit uneasy about the possibility they might be right.” Works for alien abductions, altie-meds, invasion by Russians, or anything else that is pure BS, but where there are enough people out there their that think/thought these are sane, that you, at some point, say some vague plausibility to them (or worse, actually found some vague explanatory power in, before you knew enough to realize how stupid it all was.)

    The whole heaven/hell one is funny though, since its an obvious later invention. The OT seems fairly clear in Ecclesiastics that not only don’t you gain anything from dying, but that even knowledge of where someone else went, never mind being with them, or anything else people imagine, just can’t be true. You know, no rewards, no new knowledge, no ‘life’ after death, according to any sort of literal meaning of that section. Real mention of something worth bothering to look forward to after death doesn’t show up until the NT, and even then, the Bible is pretty vague on it, with most of the detail being filled in by “other” sources, like Dante, etc. All of those “sources”, are pretty clearly stolen from Greek/Roman ideas about an afterlife, with the only real changes being whether or not the church believes in “Limbo”, which was just a way to claim that the, ironically OT like, “You will live, unaware of anything going on in the outside world, or any where else, and do nothing significant while there.”, of the Elysian Fields, was a “stop gap”, for people not ready to move on to the nice, modern, truly valuable, “heaven” that, apparently, god only came up with after Jesus sacrificed himself, to himself.

    But, yeah. I wasn’t even indoctrinated much, rarely having even gone into a church in my childhood, and I get those moments. Mostly they tend to be moments of, “What if they are right, and the world really is completely insane?”, but… sort of the same thing, right?

  17. 20

    I was raised a Jehovah’s Witness from age six in a religiously divided home. Thinking about an eternal paradise without my Dad was definitely painful. To this day, over a decade after abandoning the religion, I still internalize the guilt of being someone who had the opportunity to learn “the truth” but does not live by it–the worst kind of person there could be.

  18. 21

    annejones @ #16: Please note my comment policy. It prohibits comment hogging and hijacking of comment threads — both in the form of extremely long comments, and in the form of off-topic comments intended to change the subject from the topic of the post to whatever the commenter wants to discuss instead.

    Also, please don’t tell me how to moderate my own blog. I don’t like quote-mining either: but there is a difference between quote-mining and replying to one part of a very long comment. I am fine with the latter. Please don’t try to control how people converse here. (That’s my job. 🙂 )

    If you want to participate in the discussions and debates here, you are welcome to do so. But please do so as a participant in the conversation. Don’t use my blog as a place to set up your soapbox. If you want a soapbox, start your own blog. Thank you.

  19. 24

    Chimpy, you did see what Greta said.

    It prohibits comment hogging and hijacking of comment threads — both in the form of extremely long comments, and in the form of off-topic comments intended to change the subject from the topic of the post to whatever the commenter wants to discuss instead.

    She does not want the discussion here.

    But Anne Jones is welcome to come back to the Thunderdome at Pharyngula. Even if it is to ask for people to come visit her site.

    I will say no more because I am now part of the derail.

  20. 25

    [OT + meta]

    annejones, it is notable that you have not even attempted to respond to the multitudinous and detailed responses to every aspect of your claims that you received over in the Thunderdome, yet you have now brought it here.

    (The inference is clear)

  21. 27

    “Do what it says here and you’ll go to a lovely place when you die”.

    Rather ironic that the core message of Christianity wound up being ‘you shall not surely die.’

  22. 28

    The afterlife division of Heaven and Hell was part of what caused me to doubt religion, too.

    A lifetime of indoctrination is pretty hard to completely shake off.

    Very true. bexie, I’m sorry you’ve had a hard time shaking off the indoctrination. I’m less affected by it internally, I think because I started to dislike parts of what I was being taught very early on, but there are still things that continue to haunt me.

  23. 29

    Don’t go posting on people’s blogs and expecting them to give you traffic.

    Answer questions here or kindly go back to doing whatever you people do.

    Rev. BigDumbChimp @ #23: I appreciate you looking out for me. But I’m actually okay with this. My comment policy on threadjacking and overly long comments specifically says, “If your comment is very long, please consider writing it as a post in your own blog instead, and posting a summary and a link in the comments here.”

    annejones @ #26: I’m sorry, but I don’t have the time and energy to engage in a long back-and forth with you. And if you haven’t bothered to engage with the people at Pharyngula who have expressed an interest in talking with you, that confirms my suspicion that this conversation would not be fruitful.

  24. 30

    Re: “What if there IS a Hell, and I end up there?”

    I was raised in New Hampshire, one of the least religious parts of the U.S. both by stated affiliation and by church attendance, by a Lutheran-turned-atheist and a Catholic-turned-deist, and even I worry about the possibility of going to hell sometimes… It’s such a common idea, so embedded in our culture and promoted by so many people, that even I sometimes find myself wondering if it might be true, even though I was never raised to take it seriously. I know it doesn’t make any sense, but the nagging worry is still there in the back of my head.

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