Bible Camp Night Sweats

I was raised by a staunch Babtist. Every summer I was carted off to bible camp for two weeks. The camp was actually fun, but each evening we were herded into the camp chapel and told horror stories about life after death for non-believers. I used to cringe and dread each evening service. Most of the kids took it in stride seeing it all as an extension of Santa Claus and similar myths, but the tales of sinners leaping into the fires of hell and having their graves infested by snakes literally scared the devil out of me. Each evening when the call came to come forward I would resist, not knowing why, but certain that eventually, I would be one of the legions condemned to everlasting torment.

I never got saved from the Babtist hell. It seem to incredulous that life was unimportant and that our true purpose was to prepare for death. I never came to believe that killing someone perfect was a good thing regardless of if he magically was raised from the dead afterwards or not. Though shalt not kill made sense to me. Jesus' sacrifice so that I wouldn't be sent to God's oven didn't. Kindness and forgiveness made sense, retaliation, retribution and eternal punishment didn't. I survived this religious persecution and am now certain that the whole story is complete hogwash. I no longer suffer any fears of enternal torment or hell and now see it for the terrorist tactic that it truly is. But in my early teens I would lie for hours in my bunk at the camp - no relation to Aushowitz - dreading the future, afraid and trembling. My only conclusion in retrospect is Jesus loves evangelists who trade in fear, everybody else thinks they are ********.
jthitt jthitt
56-60, M
5 Responses May 27, 2011

A common misconception of hell is that it's a place of fire and demons who prod and ***** you with sharp steel idk...rods..., but that's entirely FAR from what hell is like. Hell is the total absence of God, who is a being all about love and forgiveness and comfort(and at certain times angry, but who doesn't get mad?) The imagery of flames is used as a figure of speech to describe hell. For example, the bible describes hell as place of utter darkness, but how can that be? Flames would illuminate things up. Another example:Hebrews 12:29 God is called a consuming fire,but no one really thinks of God as a giant cosmic Bunsen burner. The flames are used to represent judgement.

Judge not that yea be not judged. Irrespective of apologists analysis, a religion that glorifies human sacrifice ritualizes cannibalism and drinking blood, advocates the afterlife vs life just doesn't make sense to me - no offense.

since when did Christianity ritualize cannibalism and drinking blood? It's not the actualy drinking and eating of flesh and blood but a figurative.
The fact that mankind can murder, rape, and torture one another and still have the balls to point out certain, misinterpreted ideas just doesn't make sense to me.

to YOU, an outsider who knows nothing about the value of the cross and the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ should not be talking about Christianity as a representation of violence. don't knock it 'till you try it.

who's "him", and I haven't developed any amount of anger and rage. I will agree that religion itself is trash and toxic but that's what people make of it. I despise religion but I do believe in God and Jesus
Also I can't read your blog so if you have an url or link could you put it on the next reply

1 More Response

You have a great gift for writing and your first paragraph about Bible camp was too funny. I wish you joy and happiness.:D

Thank you

I had a similar upbringing, not as extreme but still left me with nightmares. Yes, I agree that it is tantamount to child abuse. A few years back I studied the concepts of heaven and hell from a christian world view ba<x>sed on the myths and cultures that surrounded the biblical authors. It was interesting to see how different cultures and religions impacted the different authors of the "bible". The book of daniel set in ancient babylon provides a monistic view of the constituancy of man, where the soul is intrinsically bound to the body which lies in the ground until a physical ressurrection and places of honor and dishonor are given to the newly resurrected. The influence of the greek and roman empires are found in the gospels where the cursed place of the dead shows up, surrounded by fire, and abraham's bosom by water. Both places located in the earth and constructed upon an Aristoleon cosmology (flat earth, hard sky, ect.). Also the metaphors for hell change from a cold, dark place, to an empty place filled with relentless flesh consuming worms, to a fire that continues forever. However, once you filter out all the mechanisms which describe the torment, it is a life filled with regrets and dishonor and the knowledge of all the ones we have hurt and misused. A complete knowledge of everything we have ever done is the reward/pain we will experience.

I like your comment "A complete knowledge of everything we have ever done is the reward/pain we will experience." I believe we create our own heaven or hell here and now by choosing our response to circumstances that confront us. As to being an evolving spirit that is learning from our physical experience, I'm open to that possibility, but have no evidence one way or another. Thank you for your comment.

I always wanted to try rattlesnake grilled over an open flame. It'll go great with the muffins.

Yep snakes and fire for you!