I have to be honest. It's taken me 4 years to get to the point where i'm confident that i'm not going to hell anymore because i don't believe anymore. That's how deep the indoctrination process is when you've been raised from birth to believe it..Your mind believes it but it takes a while for your soul or subconscious to change.
When I started practicing paganism and did my first ritual, I still had the nagging doubt that god was going to strike me with lightning. Nothing happened and I quickly got over the idea. However, it took me much longer to lose the idea that I might go to hell. If I am confident about anything in this universe, one thing is that there is no hell. I understand where you are coming from.
Congratulations, you've crossed the line from Indoctrination, Religiosity, Cognitive Dissonance, Irrationality, Bare-Faced Lies, Emotional Extortion, etc, etc, into the New and Wonderful Universe of Truths, Logic, Reasoning, Free-thinking, etc, etc, and BEST of ALL becoming a truly Individual Person.
May you live many, many years in this new-found Universe, enjoy every second of it, grow and thrive in it, and never once look back to what you once were.
Man, I can relate. (Soapbox warning, ) Raised steeped in Pentacostal bullshit. I'm talking Children's Bible stories in place of traditional bedtime stories. ...royal rangers scouting instead of the "too secular" boyscouts, Ha! I am talking heavy-handed Hell and Armageddon stories in kindergarten Sunday school to purposely scare the shit out of us so we would "repent" of our sins, as if babies like that can have a fucking clue about sin.
It took about 3 to 4 years for me to throw off those shackles. I did it in stages, because when your whole identity is wrapped up in the indoctrination, you don't transform utterly overnight. You just don't.
Step 1) realize church leaders are hypocrits and therefore not valid authorities on "God's teachings.
Step 2) study/research the Bible enough to realize it is loaded with contradictions, fictions, false facts, and some plain awful ideas. (...mixed in with some decent common sense shared with other historical traditions).
Step 3) Realize my whole concept of God was based on those hypocrits' teachings and those discredited scriptures, and therefore, whatever god is, .....micromanaging cosmic wrathful patriarch? Detached Swiss watchmaker type deity that built it all back & then lets science principles run it all? Fractured personalities of a pantheon? Or mere metaphore for physics and chemistry? ....whatever, the paradigm I was taught can't be it, because its premises are demonstrably false.
The linchpin for me came at age 21-22.
Step 4. Realize the fearing punishment for honest disbelief is oxymoronic. There are only a few possibilities, and none supports any factual reason to fear punishment for honest disbelief. Either the power that runs the cosmos takes no notice of puny me....either because it lacks consciousness or is at least not a personalized god, OR said power of deity with conscious opinion is omnicient enough to monitor me, in which case I am a mere pawn and have no hope of actually fooling said deity about my piety/faith status, so there is no sense pretending. OR said deity DOES care about me personally and it is loving, omnicient, omnipotent, and everpresent. In that case, such a deity could never fly into a rage, because "he" would be impossible to suprise and disappoint. He also would have foreseen all of human history coming, all our flaws, mistakes, triggers, vulnerabilities, etc. The notion that such an infinitely loving and perfect deity set it all up to condemn the majority of many billions to eternal torment for the "sin" of being as he made us is absurd. It disproves itself. For me, that was and remains case closed. No more looking over my shoulder "just in case."
Sorry you had to unlearn what you had learned. What a mindfuck to have a false concept programmed into to you that now causes you years of mental pain of fear and anguish and guilt and prevents you from leading a happy life.
This is simply child abuse. I hope at some point those of you who suffered this indoctrination can band together and sue the church that inflicted this damage upon you.
I'm sorry you had to go through that, but also I am very happy that you are at a point that it is behind you. I was lucky that honestly growing up with parents who were not great examples, and did not reinforce any of the belief, and even going to a catholic HS, I never really think I bought into it. Again, glad its gone and you have a large community to surround yourself with better beliefs and a better way to look at things!
Well what about the people that live in Hell, well that is Hell Michigan anyway lol?
I can say that I had doubts about the entire mythical hoax from the time that I was 7 years old. I progressed at discovering the logical answer to difficult questions as magic and trickery remain an amusement in many works of fiction.
It is always an adventure of the mind to figure out how people fool themselves into believing in the disparage taught in any religious setting both to the good and evil sides of the human equation.