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Why Growing up in a Religious Household Made Me Hate Religion

From a Pastor's Kid

I grew up being raised by a family that devoted their whole lives to their religion. That's great, don't get me wrong. I think believing in something gives you hope. We could all use a little of that today. But I ended up feeling differently about it. 

I'm not one of those "I don't go to church because those places are filled with hypocrites" kind of people either. That's like not going to the gym because there are obese people there. They are there to make themselves better. We all make mistakes. And I do understand that not everyone there is genuinely trying to make themselves better... but when it comes down to it, it is none of my business what others are doing or not doing. Mind ya own! But I am getting sidetracked... 

I come from a long line of pastors and ministers. To the extent that it didn't even occur to me that I didn't have to be in that "career path" as well until I was an adult. I was always told what part of the ministry was my "calling" and what I was supposed to do. 

We spent every day almost at the church. Whether it be Sunday morning services, Sunday night services, Monday night prayer and activities, Tuesday for cleaning, Wednesday for Bible study, Thursday for cleaning or music practice, Friday night for youth, Saturday for more activities, and music practice, and cleaning, and then repeat. Even as a child, I was home schooled to make it easier to be at church every day. 

My every move as a child even, was under close eye not only by my parents but by any church member that felt like they had a say. Any mistakes made were spoken of and announced. Anything I wanted to do or get was all up to the congregation. For example, for the longest time I wanted a perm in my hair (probably just shows my age) but I wasn't allowed because a particular tithes payer didn't approve. 

The same tithes payer believed it was appropriate for me to wear pantyhose all the time and that was enough for my parents to make it a rule in their household. 

Most of my childhood I was abused physically by a family member. My family knew. A lot of church members knew. But there was my daily reminder to forgive them and not say a word so it wouldn't effect the ministers reputation. It didn't matter how much this person hit me, or held me by my throat until I wished it would finally work so it would be the last time. The last time I was locked in my room without food for days at a time. The last time I was chased into a bedroom while running after the phone, trying to call for help. Foolish, I know... to assume this phone call would change things when the others didn't.

Being told you had no choice but to play music in a cast because "God will honor you for it" through the tears and pain. It was too much. All of it. 

Being told how stupid, ugly, fat, useless, worthless I am, and how I would never amount to anything on a regular basis and then hear the same people preach at me for kindness and showing God's love to my abuser. I was a sinner, a black sheep, a horrible example and a stress to the family when I wouldn't allow said abuser around my own children one day. 

Being raped and being told they didn't believe you and wouldn't do anything about it because two years prior you had sex with a boy. That was excuse enough to be sexually assaulted by a "saint" in the church.

The verbal abuse, the name calling, the physical abuse, and so much more... That is why growing up in a religious family made me hate religion. Not God, just religion. I know and believe there is truth in what I was taught. I was just raised by every part that was preached against by the same people. Spending every day I had in the church and never having much of a childhood outside of the church. 

My friends were all from the church. Any activities I got to do outside of my home were at the church. It became all about the religion and they forgot about God. They were spewing the words that were so much of a habit, they could say it in their sleep but they forgot what they were saying. I don't believe that is what God intended.

And that is why growing up in a religious household made me hate religion. 

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