I was brought up in a Christadelphian household, my father converting my obedient and unthinking mother before marriage. His parents were devout Christadelphians, my grandfather converting my previously-Catholic grandmother before marriage.
Sundays were horrid. Like other posts on this site, we had the weekly ordeal of putting on ‘Sunday best’ when friends were out playing. The Sunday school was a depressing gathering of a handful of kids from toddlers to teens. The small numbers resulted in 3 or 4 groups (by age) of between 2 and 4 kids.
One Sunday, after another rendition of ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’, one adult declared that God had made everything, then challenged us to “name something”. I volunteered ‘spark plugs’, as I was into motorcycle scrambling at the time, and probably thinking more about my afternoon to come. “Yes, God made them” he confidently confirmed. Puzzled, the kids disputed this and were assured that all of the components came from God. So I tried ‘guns’, to which I was told came from man, who misused God’s gifts. This distinction was asinine, and was one of many occasions when my childhood ‘faith’ was shaken. Had it happened now, I would have volunteered ‘AIDS’ or ‘cancer’ or ‘Ebola virus’.
Fact is, I was a thinking child, and the nonsense spouted every week quickly became irksome. I was a fan of dinosaurs and happily calculated that there was not enough room on Noah’s ark (the measurements are in scripture) to accommodate them. The adults simply made up answers – ‘they were smaller then’ or ‘they were tall enough to stay in the water’.
One adult (I am loathed to call them teachers – maybe ‘miseducators’ would be better) asked me “do you fear God?” “No,” I answered cheerfully, “I love God”. I thought this was the answer she was looking for, but no. She got angry, “you MUST fear him”.
Aged around 12 I wanted to leave, but it was years later before I managed it. It started with the odd week, making excuses about homework or not feeling well or whatever, anything to get out of it. Then came the time when I realised that God is a manmade fabrication. Now it felt like pretending to my parents that Santa was real, in order to protect their feelings.
Aged 34, I find my parents views so depressing. Dad witters on about how scientists are all hiding the truth, whilst wallowing in the fruits of their work – his computers, his car, his health care. In fact, he puts all of these things down to God.
I am sickened by his attitudes towards gay people and towards women, all inspired by his Bible. And worse, the joy he feels when disasters happen around the world. He gets a glint in his eye when talking about it. He knows how I feel, so masks it a little – “even scientists are saying there have never been this many storms”, as if I don’t know he’s really saying ‘the Lord is coming’. Despite (or perhaps because of) the horrendous suffering.
I didn’t quite realise how much my mother buys into it, until a couple of years ago when Dad left the room and I made some comment about his ignorance regarding evolution. She snapped – “so where do you think the animals came from? They didn’t just happen, did they?”
I feel that if you’re that stupid you should keep your mouth shut. I’m sorry to talk so disparagingly about my parents, but I feel that if the Bible and the Christadelphians had never happened to their lives, that they would be nicer human beings.
Perhaps unrelated to Christadelphianism, my mother often remarks (as she has done so for as long as I can remember), that I “think too much”. My retort remains the same, “no, you don’t think enough”.