I can honestly say I get close to violence when people tell me I am and Atheist because I was never a "true christian" and here is why. This isn't my full story but it's a start. It feels good to purge.
I was raised in a Christian home since birth. I went to church and Sunday School as a toddler. One of the first books I ever remember getting was a Children's Bible which told Bible stories in a way that 6 year olds could read and understand with colorful pictures to help keep their attention. I was saved on August 20, 1987 at church camp and then baptized that Sunday, August 23, 1987, which was my birthday. I thought that was a sign from God. For years we celebrated August 20th as my spiritual birthday. My mother gave me a gift on my first spiritual birthday and even as young as I was I felt guilty for getting a gift and being excited about it on a day that was meant to be so serious and really about God and not me. I still remember that gift. It was a lavender Swatch watch that I had been eyeing for several months.
For six weeks after my salvation I went to special classes called "King's Kids" which helped us learn how wonderful the gift of salvation was and what it meant now that we had asked Jesus into our heart. I find it odd that they did this after we were all saved. We had a small graduation ceremony after we finished the course and were given little pins at the ceremony.
That next year (4th grade) I went to a Christian school. It was miserable for me. The other kids were so very mean to me. I was made fun of everyday for my clothes, my weight, my hair…anything they could think of. My grandfather was diagnosed with cancer that year and life was chaos for everyone in my family. There were many trips made from Fort Worth (where we lived) to Houston (M.D. Anderson Hospital) so that my grandfather could receive treatment. I missed more days of school than a public school would have allowed but was not held back a year because I was a private school. This was considered a blessing and a small miracle from God even though I was miserable because I was made fun of everyday and my grandfather suffered terribly and died that summer.
It was around this time (maybe earlier or later) that Satanic Panic hit the nation (or maybe just the south, I am not sure. I was 7 or 8, give me a break). This was the most harmful part of all of this for me. I am still afraid of Halloween to this day because of everything I heard and was taught during this time period. I remember sermons regarding all of the Satan worshipers that were cropping up and their biggest holy day was Halloween. There were horrible rituals going on everyday of the year, but Halloween was by far the most evil. Babies were being sacrificed to Satan, innocent people were being demon possessed, people were being kidnapped and brainwashed into worshiping Satan, and the toys that children were playing with were making them vulnerable to all of this!!!!! I remember the specific sermon where we were told that Cabbage Patch Dolls, My Little Ponies, He-Man, She-Ra and many other childhood favorite were evil and of Satan. We were terrified. We went straight home and threw away more than half of my toys. I was completely on board with this because I was terrified I would be demon possessed. I didn't cry or beg my parents to let me keep all of my toys. I couldn't wait to get rid of them. I was seriously terrified. The preacher and presenters of the program had told us all kinds of stories about children having Satanic nightmares and becoming possessed by evil spirits and other horrible things because of the toys and pictures in their rooms. I was terrified I would become demon possessed. Seriously. I had nightmares, was afraid of the dark, had a hard time going to sleep at night. Halloween scared the SHIT out of me. (I still stay in a state of anxiety on Halloween and cannot stand to be alone on Halloween night. It's pathetic, I know.) Music, movies and television shows that were not Christian in nature were of Satan too. During this time our house became all about God and Jesus. We did not watch TV unless it was the Christian channel. We did not listed to any music if it wasn't Christian music. We had daily Bible study. We prayed together everyday. It got to the point that I could not go to sleep unless Christian music was playing because I was convinced it would help ward off the demon that were trying to possess me.
The next school year (5th grade) I ended up back in public school. The kids were just as horrible but for different reasons. This was the first time since my salvation that I was in a school where all of the kids were not Christians. I suddenly realized I had to help these kids find Jesus. They were going to hell if I didn't!!!!!! I began trying my best to tell them all about Jesus. Unfortunately, they did not want to hear it. They began making fun of me for everything, but mainly because of my faith. When I would cry about it at home I was simply told that I was going to have more treasures in heaven because of the persecution I was suffering for Jesus.
I became depressed and even suicidal. AT 9 YEARS OF AGE!!!!!!! I went to a Dawson McAllister convention that year, which is a convention focused on Christian youth. During the alter call I decided to that I needed help and prayer because of my sinful thoughts of suicide. I talked to a "counselor", which was really just a volunteer from a church with no counseling education at all, and they prayed with me and told me that I needed to cultivate a deeper relationship with Christ. I needed to pray more and go to church more. WOW! Telling a suicidal 9 year old that they are the problem. That's helpful. (That was sarcasm just in case someone doesn't realize it).
All of this continued until some shit went down at the church my family attended. I don't know what all happened because I was kept in the dark about most of it. Several years after my family quit going to the church there were legal accusations regarding the pastor and sexual relationships with several of the women in the congregation (He was also married at the time.)
My family did not go to church much after that but we were still a Christian home. I went to church off and on in High School and into adult hood. I was still completely convinced the Bible was "god's word". I remember sobbing because I was convinced my husband would go to hell. And I do mean sobbing. The snot running down my face, unable to talk, hiccuping for 30 minutes after I quit kind of sobbing.
My climb out of this indoctrination is a long story for another time but if feels good to share a little of my story.