My separation from Christendom is relatively recent. At least, the more public end of it. I've entertained the idea of letting myself accept I no longer believed in any of the gods described by humans in any religion at any time in history for quite some time. I can't discount there could be some god or another somewhere out there. But I really doubt it.
The reaction to my rejection of religion has been about what I expected. It all came straight back to Hell. I am no stranger to this, as the threats of eternal damnation in the fires of Hell have been used against me since I can even remember! Having grown up in a small backwoods town in South Mississippi, part of the Bible Belt, this was extremely common. You do anything that goes against the perfect world of Christianity and you're doomed to the torture pits! One of the most memorable experiences I had with this particular threat, in fact, happened when I was around 16 years old and in high school. I was raised not to believe in Hell, or even that normal people go to Heaven (belief system of Jehovah's Witnesses). One of the girls in my math class found out about my particular outlook on religion and the afterlife and ultimately rallied the class against me. Their biggest threat? Hell. They insisted I would roast in the flames of Hell because I didn't follow their particular idea of what the Bible said. Naturally, that didn't help my attitude towards religion as a whole, either, and it's stuck with me all these years since.
Here we are again. When I made it known to some of my more religious friends recently, Hell popped up again. That is, in those who have chosen not to run away from me as if I'm a carrier of the Black Plague, anyway. Ever since I made it known I've rejected all religion, I've been told I'll burn in hell for turning my back on God and Jesus. I've even had one friend I've known for a long time start posting passive aggressive Facebook statuses with Bible verses talking about the wrath that such rejection can invoke in God. Yeah, great guy, this God of yours. He's going to go apeshit on me because I don't want to believe in him? He's given me no good reasons I should, and yet, I'M the one who suffers? What a jerk!
What baffles me about this is... why do they think I care? I never believed in Hell in the first place. Why would I be afraid of it now? I know there isn't any point in trying to reason with these people. They've made up their minds and there's probably nothing I or anyone else could say or do to show them they're doing it wrong. But, seriously. Hell? What kind of pathetic threat is that!? Threaten me with a real life beating or telling me you think I'm scum or something. Anything else! Something more personal; something more tangible! Quit threatening me with your imaginary Hell! I don't care about your fairy tale Satan and his underground fortress of doom! GUH!!
Thank you for the opportunity to vent this frustration.