This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.


← Religion's Real Child Abuse

Rachael's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by Rachael

Here are several fragments from my experiences, to add to the discussion, in hopes that some reader may find them useful:

I spent many nights anxiety ridden, sometimes crying myself to sleep. In my sleep I would dream of the apocalypse, being left behind in the rapture, agonised friends screaming from hell "Why didn't you tell me?", and demonic attacks on my person. (I was told that Satan or his minions might apparate at any moment, should my faith - not even the size of a mustard seed - falter.)

For a period, I felt certain God was calling me to be a missionary. In my limited understanding of the world, I believed being a missionary meant going to China in order to face excruciating torture for believing in Jesus, and then eventually dying. I cried and prayed to God that he allow me to serve him another way, and then struggled with the guilt cause by my own lack of enthusiasm to preform God's will. (I had been trained to be willing to die, enthusiastically, for Jesus, by age six.)

Because even thoughts are sins, I adopted the OCD-like behavior of trying to neutralize sinful thoughts with 'pure' ones. An irony of these thoughts, of course, is that my fervour to avoid ever having them gave them rise to more!


I was raised as an Evangelical/Pentecostal type. As a sufferer of childhood sexual, physical and emotional abuse, as well as the mental abuse of my religious upbringing - I can vouch that in my own experience (and I am sure it different for others) the latter has been immeasurably the most damaging.

As fellow victims may know, what I have described is not even the iceberg's tip.

Wed, 18 Oct 2006 20:26:00 UTC | #6018