Have you ever participated (or in childhood, been forced to participate) in a religious ritual?

A lot of us at Think Atheist were raised into a religion, or have at least had personal contact with religion through family and friends.

I remember my first communion and confirmation to be horrible experiences that I was, to put it bluntly, extremely pissed off about. After watching the first video in the "deconversion series," I became curious about the vast array of possible experiences that people have had with similar situations.

If none of you mind, I think it would be cool to compare and relate our stories.

Did you, initially, consider your experience positive? Or did it push you away from religion? What conclusions did you draw, or what emotions did you feel? Anything at all that stems within a person as a result of these cultural/institutional rites is indicative of the reason that the rites exist in the first place - to place you!

I am very interested in this (as I think a lot of people might be), so responses are appreciated.

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It always surprises me how extreme some of the things people are still expected to do are. It's archaic, like monks beating their heads with bibles. Freaks me out.
Until leaving for college, every day of my life was full of forced rituals. From morning and evening prayers, to grace and bible reading and laying hands on each other for an illness or anything negative that happened to be going on. The hell of a Pentecostal Holiness childhood.
As a former Protestant, i wasn't involved in much religious rituals. But to get confirmed, I had to go to church 12 times a year (at least) and I had to visit a special class by the church for teenagers each week. Although I didn't believe in God or the Bible, I wanted to get confirmed because it's a custom to get gifts and money from the relative at the day of confirmation. This is why the most of my class visited this lessons and went to church. There were only a few of us who believed the stuff they told us and I think, the most left church after confirmation like I did.

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