Sunday, 3 April 2011

The world is going to end and you're going to Hell.

As a child I knew I was going to Hell. I was taught that there were very very strict criteria for getting into heaven: specific steps that must be followed as well as reading the bible for hours every day and praying for hours every day too as well as a pure mind. I was very conscientious but at aged seven, I struggled to discipline myself to more than a few minutes praying at a time and reading the bible was not top of my list of fun things to do (although I wouldn't have confessed that to anyone). I did read Deuteronomy though and was horrified to read the curses that would be brought on the people if they did this or that or the other thing.

Having been given a very graphic description of what Hell would be like for me, I was horrified to read that I was an abomination for the things that I had done and that I was surely going to burn in the pit of fire for eternity. Nowadays I'm more of the opinion that I didn't really have a choice in the matter. I was asked to do things to a person for their pleasure (I'm sure you know what I mean) and I didn't want to do them but I did them because I loved that person and they hassled me and I didn't want to say 'No'. I didn't want them to feel bad. Nowadays I would say that I shouldn't have been asked and I wasn't old enough to know. I wouldn't blame the child if she were not me. But then, I did blame myself. I had done them, no one physically forced me. I was coerced, but I could have said 'No'. I was an abomination to God.

It was also accepted in my church that God was coming back and the world was going to end very soon. I mean, in a matter of days or months. It was always just around the corner. It would happen when you were least expecting it and when it did happen it was going to be scary. He would burst through the clouds and judge the world and there would be a lot of fire and brimstone.

The prospect of growing up or getting old never really occurred to me. Education was seen as a waste of time. What would be the point in going to University when the world is going to end at any minute? I didn't think I was going to make it to that age anyway, as I was only seven and the world was ending within a year or two max. I'd be in Hell by the year 2000, burning in a never ending fire that would never kill me but that would be agonising, without end...forever.

I guessed that God might forgive me if I prayed really hard and repented and begged for forgiveness and put in the hours... but then the curse of being a child often prevented me from knuckling down to do the required prayer sessions and so I would get into bed each night and remember another day had gone by without my having prayed and I would realise again that I was doomed to the burning fire of Hell where Satan would take delight in torturing me.

Each night before I fell asleep from the age of five and for the entire duration of my childhood, I would say the same prayer: "Please don't return tonight God, I'm not ready and I don't want to go to Hell. I will be a better Christian tomorrow."

Nowadays I try not to think about the end of the world. I sometimes consider that one day I might be an old woman after all. But there is still the parts that truly believe the world is going to end soon and that I am damned to Hell and there is nothing I can do about it. And although I try not to entertain that thought, it hangs over me in my subconscious. I am evil. I am doomed. I am going to Hell. Sometimes I still say the same prayer when I get into bed. Nowadays, more often it is: "I'm sorry God, I want to be good but I don't know anything anymore. I need you to show me".

It's no wonder I find it hard to enjoy my life.


Meronym said...

That childhood prayer is one of the saddest things I've ever heard. I hate that such circumstances can exist. And you're in the process of conquering that every day. Bravo to you.

Candycan said...

Thank you MultiMe. This means a lot to me.