From Atheism Reddit
How cruel it is, to take a kid whose life has barely even started, and indoctrinate them into believing that they need to spend the rest of it paying penance for a thousand crimes they never committed. To see this young, budding person, and choose to tell them from the moment they are born, that they are broken, they are evil, and they deserve to burn for eternity. No human being should ever have to grow up with that accusation in the back of their mind at all times. It IS child abuse, and I refuse to call it anything else. Because I’ve lived it, and abuse only begins to describe it.
Growing up surrounded with religion seems to affect young children two ways; it resonates with them, because they don’t know any better, and it gives them a sense of purpose. This way is the only way that religious parents want to believe exists. But there’s a second one. They grow up with the same environment, the same indoctrination as the others, but they take it a whole different way. They don’t find “peace” in it, or purpose, or love. They find terror and despair. This was what I found.
I remember when I was 8 years old, I would stay up until 11 or 12 almost every night. Sneaking out of my bed, and hiding right outside my parent’s door, for HOURS. And this for days. And every day for months, and those months for years. And it didn’t stop, for FOUR YEARS. Obviously it didn’t stay the same all those years, I didn’t just spend four years hiding outside my parent’s door every night. The reaction changed, but the stimulus didn’t. I was terrified. And I don’t just mean sorta scared, I was terrified. I was only 8, but I remember I was so scared every night, it physically hurt. I was scared because the rapture was going to happen, and I wasn’t baptized, so I’d be left all alone, with the promise of however-the-fuck many plagues Revelation has, with hellfire and torment at the end of it.
But the terror I had was more than that. See, in the ‘reality’ I had been provided, god WAS real. Period. Because I had never been exposed to other possibilities, wondering whether god was real was like wondering if the sky was really blue. I had no reason to suspect otherwise, so I never did.
I believed in god because it was the only ‘reality’ I knew. But despite all that, despite the fact that god’s existence was as much a fact to me as the sky being blue, I DIDN’T LOVE HIM. And that’s why I was terrified. All around me were these children being indoctrinated, just like me, but there was a difference. It worked on them. They had faith, they loved god, they found beauty and safety in this idea. And I believed god existed just as much as they did, but I COULDN’T LOVE HIM. I wasn’t just terrified because I wasn’t baptized. I was terrified because, even though I didn’t know this word existed back then, I WAS AN ATHEIST. I was terrified because I knew god was real, and I knew I would never love him.