What a Bathroom Exorcism Taught Me About Religion
I Don’t Regret Keeping Religion Away From My Children
I was raised in a very religious setting, from birth until the day I moved out of my parents’ home. I’ve seen some shit.
Most of it happened in church. But once in a while, I remember an oddball occurrence that I’d forgotten about but really stands out once I think of it again.
This is one of those memories. A bathroom exorcism.
Let’s provide a little backstory though to this. The belief in and fear of Satan, The Devil, and Beelzebub himself. If you ask me, Christians give far too much power to the opposing force of Jesus.
Back when we were kids, we were told anything that Christians didn’t like or approve of was of The Devil. We couldn’t listen to music because it was of The Devil.
AC/DC stood for “Anti-Christ, Devil’s Child”. KISS was an acronym for “Knights in Satan’s Service”. And don’t even get me started about Ozzy Osbourne.
I laugh as I type this now, but back in the day, this was some serious shit.
We were taught that we’re “In the world, but not of the world”. Uh, ok. Being worldly sounded a hell of a lot more fun to me than being a religious nut.
My dad saw some sort of advertisement once for a sweatshirt with a Bible verse printed across the front of it. This would have been around 6th or 7th grade. He wanted to order one for me.
“Uh, no thank you. I’m already a big enough of a target as it is with these big ears and ever-growing nose. Please don’t make me an even bigger one.”
That was the thought going through my head before he lost interest or figured out the price was above his budget for children’s weird religious apparel. Thank Christ being a pastor didn’t pay much back in the 80s.
As I mentioned previously, we saw quite a few unsettling things at church, more than we ever witnessed at home. I saw people running around the sanctuary, yelling and screaming in “tongues”. This was an unknown language that a person supposedly receives from God and they are unable to control the words coming out of their mouths.
Or their arms or legs, evidently. They looked like those wind figures you see in front of businesses, flapping away wildly.
This happening in the middle of church could scare the living daylights out of you, as a small child. Until you got used to it. And we did. We learned that after someone bellowed out a torrent of unrecognizable language, you were to sit quietly and wait for the interpretation in English from another church member.
This often was my father, who as our pastor, would wait 20 to 30 seconds before it became apparent that nobody actually knew what the gibberish was supposed to be saying. He’d quote a verse and then be done with it.
Just once, as a skeptical, constantly-learning child, I wanted someone to say, “That’s NOT what the hell I said!” after hearing the interpretation. Sadly this never happened. They were probably just glad to be off the hook after letting lose with a half minute of nonsense.
Seeing things like this frequently and hearing about how the Devil was everywhere certainly messed with my head as a grade school child. Not only were we taught that everything fun in life was of the Devil, but that Satan caused our illnesses and afflictions.
We didn’t go to the doctor often, as kids. If shit got really bad and it was apparent that prayer wasn’t working, then they’d take us in. But my folks were not pro-science and we did not have a family doctor growing up.
One night, in particular, was rough. I’d had mac and cheese for dinner and we must have had something chocolatey and rich for dessert. All of the sudden, I had a bad case of Bubble-Guts coming on.
When it got particularly stressful for my digestive system, my dad made me drink a small glass of wine. I fully blame him now for my two-glass-a-night habit. Thanks, Dad.
Well, when that didn’t help, things really got out of control. I vividly remember sitting on the shitter and crying, screaming to my mother, “HELP ME! CAST THE DEMONS OUT, MAMA! CAST THE DEMONS OUT!”
Yeah. Demons decided it was their mission to infect and possess my stomach. They traveled all that way from Hell to personally attack and persecute me. Dicks.
Eventually, science took over and the wine either settled my stomach or I passed out from my bathroom exorcism. Thankfully. I can’t imagine what my mother was probably thinking, hearing her young son screaming such ridiculous things while in pain.
Did she agree with what I was saying? Or did she cry herself to sleep that night, seeing evidence of obvious mental abuse her young son was suffering through, around the age of seven or eight years old?
I have no idea. I don’t know and don’t care to. I often wonder if Christians truly believe the far-fetched things they are programmed to believe, in order to be controlled. Is the fear of a fake place called Hell enough to actually influence them to make poor decisions in life and regarding their health?
Organized religion and the hateful misinterpretation by many regarding the Bible and the things Jesus said were enough for me to not want my children raised in that environment. Though I never told them they couldn’t attend church, none of our three had any interest.
They’re all highly intelligent, college kids at this point. They have learned so much in their advanced classes in school. They’ve been through physically painful things in their young lives and never once blamed Satan for them.
I’m glad. Because bathroom exorcisms are seriously fucking bullshit. &:^)
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