A Family Christmas Debate: Age of accountability?

So it is Christmas day and I have just arrived at my Grandparents home to celebrate as is the tradition and has been since I remember. One thing has changed since those days of old and that is my deconversion from fundamentalist christian into atheism. This is something that only my brother and his wife are aware of and even then we avoid the subject. 


But I digress.. 


I had just arrived at my grandparents home and open the door to walk into the middle of a heated debate at the kitchen table. The topic: Do infants and children go to heaven or hell when they die if they haven't had the opportunity to accept Jesus into their hearts as their lord and savior? I must admit that I was instantly filled with a vast array of emotions upon the realization of what was going on.


The first emotion to fill me was amusement. I found it funny that there could be two vastly different options, both capable of being backed with scripture and both being passionately supported by intelligent people. I was also amused at the other views tied in with this one, which often share just as much controversy.(Like baptism, forgiveness, the holy spirit, etc)


Next I felt a sickness so terrible it made me actually become nauseous. This mixture of sadness and anger was the realization of what was actually being said. In either case the underlying message was this: children and even infants are inherently evil and filthy creatures deserving of pain and torment beyond comprehension for all of eternity simply because they were born. I can not fathom anything more pure and innocent than a newly born infant and if I am a christian I am to believe this little joy is evil and filthy and deserving of punishment without end all because some guy their great - great - great -great grandfather never even met ate a piece of fruit? The fact that this was accepted without question on both sides of the argument and the real issue was is there an age of accountability or not is what sickened me most of all. 


Aside from some other choice emotions, the last one I felt was a combination of sorrow guilt, and frustration.  I was sad that my family is all so diluted that they would accept so many evils as good, I was feeling guilt over the fact that for over 20 years of my life I was just as they are and thought and said many of the same things they do now, and I was frustrated because I couldn't point out these things or question anything being said.


I really wish I could be totally out about my atheism in every situation, but sometimes its best for me to keep it to myself if only to keep some stability and companionship in this world. 


I just thought I would share some of my thoughts and feelings over the situation and see if anyone had any feedback about the whole situation ? Thanks everyone. 

Views: 93

Comment by Doug Reardon on December 27, 2010 at 10:22pm
Every good Catholic knows, they go to Limbo!
Comment by Ava Wilson on December 27, 2010 at 10:42pm
I was done with this argument when a Christian implied to me that my one and a half year old daughter would go to hell if she passed away suddenly because she wasn't old enough to accept Christ into her life. Where I'm of the belief that nobody is old enough to decide what religion they really are until they're at least eighteen, the person tried pretty much condemning my child which-- if you ever saw her, or any child her age-- would strike any reasonable person as horrifying for how innocent and lovely she is. It angered me and my fiance to a point that I still think about it frequently. A five year old is no more capable of accepting Christ than a one year old. There is no 'age of accountability' for religion in my eyes for children. Even in adults, it depends on how mature the mind is and its ability to reason, NOT a number / age. There is only accountability for actions and right or wrong, but that's still not a specific 'age', it's all individual to the child themselves.
Comment by Allen Sneed on December 27, 2010 at 11:19pm
Yeah, the idea that babies are being tortured in Hell is pretty sick. But then again so is the idea that anyone is actually burning in Hell for all eternity. I can't really think of any crimes that I would say warrant being tortured forever. Even Hitler doesn't deserve that. Maybe being "poofed" out of existence would be a more fitting punishment from a God we are supposed to be is loving and kind. Christians are just fucking sick in the head.
Comment by Jennifer Ulean Breedlove on December 28, 2010 at 1:12am

Yes this idea is sickening and even more so horrid beyond belief!

Having said that I am glad that I am free from these beliefs.

I know what you mean about wishing you could be more open about your beliefs. I have a few family members I am that way about. Most of them know though. True a huge part of them have a problem with it. but most of them know..


Comment by Joli on December 28, 2010 at 12:41pm
I am sickened by this story... wow... I can't believe I used to be one of these people, wow just wow. I can't believe I wanted my kids to be one of these people. but it does not suprise me that my mother in law is one of these people.


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