An Article Kindly Contributed By A Reader
I was born into a Christadelphian family in the mid-70s and from a young age I had to attend Sunday school, the youth club and the evening meeting. My parents came from a long line of CDs, so this really was the traditional family religion. We led a comfortable middle class life and I had a number of non-CD friends from school but as I grew up I began to dread Sundays rolling round. Without fail I had to endure the same tedious rubbish, first a lesson at Sunday school from a teacher who could bore the tail off a donkey, then a mind-numbing evening exhortation from a dusty old speaker at the evening meeting. I really hated it with a passion, especially watching my non-CD friends enjoying a carefree day playing whilst I was carted off for yet another wasted Sunday.
From an early age, I had a keen interest in science and technology and devoured books with a healthy appetite for knowledge. The problem was that the more I learned about the world around me, the less sense the Christadelphian dogma made. However, if I made any common-sense comments at Sunday school or youth group about the subject under discussion they were met with scorn or sometimes anger that I should dare to question the word of god. I soon learned to keep my mouth shut and developed a state of mind where I just used to switch off until the tedium was over. It just all seemed so silly and unbelievable to me. How could all these apparently intelligent adults believe such nonsense about a 2000 year old man who lived in the sky with his dad? Why did they accept that an ancient storybook was unquestionable fact, just because the book said so? How could they keep a straight face when discussing floods, talking snakes and argumentative donkeys? Why did they insist the world was made in six days just a few thousand years ago? I just couldn’t understand it at all.
As I entered my early teens, my parents started to accept that I had absolutely no interest in getting baptised myself and we came to the agreement that I no longer had to attend the Sunday school or meetings, as long as I continued to attend the weekly youth club. This was a very welcome arrangement as the scripture part of the club only lasted about 15 mins, then we could do fun things like play football on the field or eat platefuls of biscuits. There was also an annual camp and occasional youth day which were mildly enjoyable, but somewhat tempered by the dreaded two hour bible study every night which seemed endless and mind numbingly boring to my lively mind. One by one though, my peers meekly accepted their fate and were interviewed and then baptised, much to my bafflement and mild amusement. Of course I had to go along to the baptisms out of politeness (and some coercion from my parents) and had to run the gauntlet of earnest brethren and ex-Sunday school teachers asking after my spiritual health. The occasional one would ask if I was next, much like one would ask a singleton at a wedding!
I eventually left the youth group at about sixteen and never went to another meeting again, apart from the odd baptism of a friend or young family member. I was constantly kept up to date however by my parents, who reported the latest events or fraternal to me, hoping it would give me second thoughts and bring me back to the fold.
I am now a happily married adult with a family of my own and get on with my parents and siblings absolutely fine. I sometimes have to keep my feelings to myself at family gatherings when they casually discuss the latest ‘signs of the times’, rubbish the latest amazing scientific discoveries or make asinine comments about world events, earthquakes, famines etc. being all part of the divine plan. I can’t see any benefit in rocking their boat, even though I would love to open the windows of sense and let some reality blow through their hair for a change. I know it would make no difference though, as they are all willing members of the group delusion and would dismiss it as nonsense or probably just ignore it.
Having experienced life growing up in an extended Christadelphian family has made me realise just how lucky I am to be so independently minded and able to see past such nonsensical rubbish. I have an intimate knowledge of what they are, yet I can stand outside their cosy insulated bubble and look in with wonderment at what intelligent adults will believe when they are immersed (no pun intended) in such an overbearing high commitment religion.
An Article Kindly Contributed By A Reader