I remembered  today an experience I had when I was about 11 years old and going to church. They made us watch a movie(sort of) about hell, that explained what hell was about and had weird images, people screaming, fire and those things. I remember I couldn't forget those things for about a month, I prayed everyday, tried to be more active in church and all that because I was terrified to be sent there. Do you have any memories like that? if you were raised on a religious environment.

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My grandma tells me often that I need to get saved so that I won't go to hell when Jesus comes back...It scared me when I was younger, but now it just pisses me off. I'm a good person, I work hard, and I care about others...Why would I burn in hell?
I was scared shitless. It is one of the reasons I dropped theism. The realization the only reason I accept a god or care about one is because of the fear of hell. I didn't enjoy the stories rules that my family claims to be scientific truth. Then you find science and realize the beautiful simplicity of the world and feel at ease and realize no i will not burn for a thousand years and the way things are and always have been has been A LONG TIME.
I was very young 4 or 5 and they taught you the "now I lay me down to sleep" horror pray. I remember getting angry saying "I want to live not now, wake me up". Never really felt love they talked about in church. At 8 I was telling the Pastor I what I was willing to listen to in Sunday school. My parents and Pastor had meetings on how to deal with me, the plan didn't work well.

When I went to primary school we had a priest who used to visit who was the typical old fashioned Irish catholic priest, so he used to try and scare the living crap out of kids everyday for not praying, or not going to mass etc. I can remember one day he made a girl cry because she skipped mass on Sunday to compete in a horse riding competition!

 

But at the same time my mother was a teacher in the school and quite a dedicated Catholic too and she used to always reassure us to not pay too much attention to the Fathers threats because we were all good people etc.

 

Fortunately that priest left before I finished primary school and his successor was a much more accepting man who had no issues with me being an atheist and was more than willing to respect my decision. He never intimidated anyone into believing in hell or sins and all that!

 

So I guess I got lucky here in that I kinda came into education in Ireland as the old fashioned Catholic ways were on the way out (theyre still far too much of influence however! but thats another story).

 

I never really experienced outside of education either. Catholicism in Ireland tends to stay away from the 'fire and brimstone' imagery and basis itself more on moral/ethical teaching.

 

The one scary thing I do remember as  a child though is confession, that was the one time when you got the whole 'you're going to hell' treatment.

When I was ten, my mother decided near bedtime to talk to my brother and I about Hell. It was a devastating experience: she described it in all its horrifying detail, complete with fire and torture and a complete life without God. And she said it with as calm a voice as she could muster, because she was clearly terrified of discussing it, despite her interest in telling us something she thought was something good for our spiritual health.

 

The worst of it was while I was crying in horror, I asked her, "Isn't there any way to escape?" She said, "No." I cried myself to sleep that night.

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