My brother-in-law was one of the 16 Marines killed in the c-130 that crashed over Mississippi on July 10. Almost every day after the names of the victims were officially announced, my sister started getting "sympathy cards" from Christians telling her that she needed to repent so that she could see her husband in Heave (ironically, he also was agnostic so that ship would have already sailed). Some included tracts, pamphlets, steps to avoid hell, and the conversion prayer. These were people that didn't know my sister or her husband, Brendan (or any of us for that matter). We have no idea how they got our address since we never announced that, but it was just freaky, and a disgusting violation of a human being's grief.
Oh lawdy! I made the mistake to confiding in a hellfire brimstone preacher. Much to my horror, I was the subject of his next sermon. I was much younger and much more vulnerable then and I had to undergo therapy to undo all the crap they caused. One therapists asked me a question that immediately broke the spell: she asked, "Are these people whom you would go to for an other kind of advice?" I started laughing and said NO! That was it, they never bothered me again. Science and critical thinking have a tendency to squash the religious nonsense.
My best friend had AIDS and, when he didn't have much time left, he asked his older brother (who lived in another state) if he could see him one last time. His brother sent him a bible and told him he still had time to save himself from hell if he hurried. Oh, and he'd be praying for his soul. I can't fathom anything that hurt's another human being that intensely as being good.
I actually had someone defend the idea that you can rape children in the name of god. I told him that if he truly believed that then his morals were absolutely FUCKED. He became irate at the use of the word 'fuck' and declared that he could not tolerate such vulgarity. To sum up, he actually believed that child rape was acceptable but saying 'fuck' was unconscionable.
My trauma is this. My worst experience with religious people was when I was 17 and I had a group of three elders (older appointed men) assigned to assess my case of immorality. They are called a judicial community. Anyway they suspected I was lying to them about the exact events that took place being my boyfriend and I. They wanted to know details about how far we had gone sexually with each other. Supposedly they needed the information to discern whether or not to kick me out. But next they invited me to meet them at another kingdom hall (church). I thought it was just going to be us. They failed to mention there were going to be three other Elders and my boyfriend there.
So here I was, 17, the only girl there with 6 old geezers and my teenage boyfriend all sitting in a circle going into detail about our sex life. They asked us questions like, "Did you masturbate at all? How much clothes did you have on? Where was it? How many times?" Etc. Etc. VERY DISTURBING. I don't know how I didn't realize how wrong it was and why I didn't run out of there. The brain washing was strong with this one. (AKA: me.)
I can tell you the day I walked away from religion was a few days after my best friend committed suicide. At the funeral, someone whispered behind me, "you know, suicides go to hell. He committed suicide because his family is pagan and didn't have jesus in his life."
My family is very religious and that was six years ago. Every day, I get a guilt complex that drives religion fostered upon me for "walking away from god." That is my worst experience with religious people. It's every day.
Every time a religious person tells me that they'll pray for me, while they have such pity in their eyes. Like I'm just trash, lost and unloved, and only their prayers will fix my broken soul. It does hurt me like it used to, now it makes me angry. I don't like being angry...
My few encounters with religious people have been a real hoot. Being human they also question their beliefs and I think at times are frankly unsure of them and questioning. Many can get pretty wound up if you let them know what you think. They will go far out of their way to let you know they are right. I have this sneaky feeling a big reason they don't like agnostics/atheists is because it makes them question their own beliefs and possibly have doubts and that can be very uncomfortable to them...LOL
I decided to turn my back in religion when I figured out that people can spend billions building churches but can't spend thousand to feed the poor in the same church and the homeless.. Instead of building Mega Million Cathedrals why not build Mega Million Homes for the Homeless.
I came back from a Toys for Tots run to pick my son up from my aunt at her church one evening. One of the church ladies rushed over to tell me that if I was a good Christian that I wouldn't dress like that. I responded, "I'm not but if you were a good Christian, you wouldn't have said that. Maybe you should read your book about judging others."
A fundamentalist preacher who was street-preaching at my college last semester told me that when Judgement Day comes, he will personally dragging me screaming and throw me into the pits of Hell, laughing at me the whole time.
Granted, he also told me that he had 5 Ph.D.s, performed miracles, and had evidence that present-day whales existed in the Cambrian Period, so he might not be the most believable person in the world.
A very close friend found out I was an Athiest and refused to see me for several years. I bumped into him once one a trip to Aspen I got the chance finally to ask him, How did you not know I was an Athiest, I'm so vocal about it. He said "well I knew you didn't believe I just didn't know you were an Athiest. I laughed and said That's all an Athiest is. We aren't baby eaters. We're people just like you who happen not to believe that one thing.
Before I officially transitioned from Christian to Agnostic I worked at a "Non-Denominational" Christian University. The bulk of the staff there was very conservative but there were exceptions. One day, after admitting to supporting liberal politics I was told by a co-worker that no one can be both liberal and Christian, that they were mutually exclusive and all true Christians were conservative/Republican. (Oddly enough it wasn't long before I ceased to be a Christian, but I don't believe my particular story validates her belief.)
I had a baptist minister and some of his congregation show up at my door. They were going door to door to invite people to their church. At the time I still considered myself Christian. I told him that I didn't normally go to Church but thank you. He than went off on how I was going to Hell but worse since it was my responsibility to show my family the way, I was leading them to Hell also. I shut the door in his face at that point.
My family who are "born again" christians. All they talk about is jesus and try to convert me. They think I have to be "saved". The only thing I need saving from is them! They are judgemental hypocrites who are focused on materialistic things. They have no compassion!
Watched my ex-wife get emotionally tortured and abused by her parents with threats of hell. I got the blame for her multiple suicide attempts. After 12+ years divorced, I have full custody of our daughter and my ex has been bouncing around between boyfriend/heroin addicts and mental hospitals for years. Sad.
I'm thankful I can't remember anything personally, but my daughter, who was raised with no religion (and honestly, I don't know what she considers herself) has often been told by classmates that she is going to hell. She wears a beautiful pentacle pendant we bought at some Renaissance Fair, and was once told by a complete stranger that she was going to hell because of that. She's been asked if she's a Satanist.
However, she does celebrate a secular version of xmas, but her tree is black.
That would be when my sister,( the religious nut who has been married four times), went to my husband's hospital bed and began preaching. She then came to me and asked about final arrangements. I said at this point, Ken was sick but not dead! She then proceeded to talk about god and the hereafter. I threw her out and haven't spoken to her since. After my husband died, she called to say she was "there for me". I figured that meant she wanted a door opened so she could just start preaching again. I've lived as an atheist for a long time and do not intend to switch sides in the hope that something else will carry me through.