Good evening Heathens and Hell-Bound friends and foes alike! It’s time for another edition of the indoctrination series. For the last article in this series, click here: Inoculation Against Indoctrination: Ages 4-6: Jesus Loves You. If you’d like to start at the beginning of this series, click here:Inoculation Against Indoctrination: Ages 0-3: Sights and Sounds.
So let’s get this out of the way…Did you know that you are trash? You’re garbage and there is absolutely nothing good about you. The only possible thing about you that could be good would be your love and adoration of god. Do you love god? But do you really love him? No, seriously, do you love him more than anything else in this world? Well you better because if not he’s going to hurt you.
Ever fallen off your bike? Well imagine feeling that pain times 1 gazillion, now you know just how bad it’s going to hurt if you don’t love god more than anything else in this world. Now…how are you going to prove to god that you love him? Well, you’re going to volunteer in the church, you’ll collect the weekly offerings, sing songs to the lord, tell your friends about Jesus and definitely invite them to church so that they can be injected with the fear of hell as well.
Ages 7-12 are crucial years when it comes to indoctrination. You’ve spent the majority of your life up until this point being told that god loves you, he wants you to be happy and you’ve heard all the fun stories about all the people who god loved in the past. Now it’s time to take on the next step because you are starting to ask actual questions. During this time you will stop believing in Santa, the Easter Bunny, Unicorns, and other mythical creatures….and so in the back of your mind you begin to question whether or not this god character is real too.
So how do you put an end to the doubts? You add a healthy dose of fear. Most churches believe that the age of accountability, or in other words the age that you know right from wrong begins somewhere between the ages of 7 and 12. It’s time to learn about hell. Hell is the opposite of everything that you have been told about god up to this point. It’s dark, painful, filled with evil people. Are you evil? If you don’t worship god perfectly then you most definitely are.
You are also beginning to make friends between these ages that are more than simply the play dates that you may have had prior to this age. So the church puts a big ad on your forehead, in some denominations literally, and tells you that you must tell all your friends about Jesus so they don’t go to hell. Also, it’s very important to understand that any friend who scoffs at your witnessing is evil and you should cut ties as quickly as possible or else they may drag you to hell with them.
One of the things that bothered me the most, even when I was a minister is how few people ever advance past this stage of belief. They know just enough about the biblical stories to give a brief synopsis and faith statement and they fear hell just enough to keep them from leaving the faith. While this bothered me greatly it’s actually how it’s meant to be when it comes to the church, they don’t want you asking big questions, they want you dumb, gullible, and perfectly happy dropping loads of money into the offering plate.
Two words that I never heard a minister ever preach about…”Critical Thinking.”
Soon you will be old enough to join the youth group and really start living in service to god, at the moment though your service will primarily be within the church. Putting on plays, skits for the adults, singing in the choir, and maybe acting as an usher in some churches. You won’t be given tough tasks but you will be given a ton of praise for those tasks you are given, even if you do poorly. The idea is to get the pleasure center of your brain associated with servitude and acceptance.