He was the creation of God, a horrifying God, and it was clear to him this malevolent tyrant was, in the end, going to send him to Hell. It was inevitable. The Church through inculcation had overwhelmed him with the scores of the most stringent rules. It was sin to do anything, and even worse, it was just as much of a sin, to think or feel these things. Thinking it was doing it. It was Orwell’s “thought crime.” He had been a schoolboy hoping to enjoy his youth just like all of his friends did, like any healthy normal child did. He could never live up to those impossible edicts of a literal Bible, Hanson went to “The Only Right Church;” that is what the Church said, and they also said the other Christian denominations were going to hell, for worshipping a false doctrine. This somehow made sense as to why the other school mates could live normal (sinful) lives, but Hanson was, alone, a beast to the burden this Church of Christ’s God’s impossible to maintain burdens. It was the guilt. That is what made it such hell on earth. Knowing that he had thought or felt something, something hideous, like a normal sexual curiosity, or God forbid, an impulse—it racked him with guilt and constant, repetitive prayer for forgiveness. These never seemed enough, and he would have to repeat them, like the Catholics and their rosary, and this just made his head hurt with misery. It was the bus stops. Times at school waiting for that bus ride home. Just his mind and guilt to torment him; standing alone, tortured by guilt, and repetitively, compulsively praying the same prayer, over and over, at least a dozen times, before it seemed good enough. After that one was finished, he would try not to think of sin. But it was like trying to “not think about a purple rhinoceros,” what else could one think of? It is impossible to not think of what you actively concentrate on not thinking about. So this prayer, and new sinful thought, which required a dozen more prayers, repeated until the bus came. Then on the bus, sitting alone, so he could concentrate on the soul saving necessity, it would continue for the hour drive home. This was much later to be diagnosed as obsessive compulsive disorder, but such things occur, most often after a great emotional stress. God had provided that, they Church had done that. Yet Hanson would not know the word OCD until college. He would read it in a book. He had diagnosed himself. Yet for now, he was just a sinner.
He couldn’t talk about it to his parents, they would probably agree with him-that he was sinning. No he had to not talk about this, and certainly not to his friends. He didn’t really have any friends; he was always in this deep, personal, obsessive praying. He couldn’t carry out a friendship, besides; they were all Secular and all sinners. He had what seemed not to be OCD, but a justifiable reason why this applied only to him, which was why all the other kids-well they could lead normal lives-he had been told that they would go to hell, but the damned Church, by the pastors. Yet he himself, Hanson, he knew he was going to. He just thought of these intrusive purple rhinoceroses, all day and even when he lay awake at night. His life was already hell. And then he had Hell to look forward to. He had thought he was going crazy, but he was just frantic with stress, the Church made this all—it made it make sense; even if he had known OCD was fueling it, and had most probably, been the stress of the Church that had caused him to “break” and fall prey to this.
Much later, he would agree with this, that is when he knew he had Obsessive Compulsive disorder. And he blamed that God damned Church of Christ for it. And he, well, he was right. It never would have ruined his life like this, if it had not been for that Church.
But there is all was, again and again—it all made sense; why he alone had to bear all of this, He was in the only “right Church”, this was what made him an exception. His God made it clear he had to suffer, repress, abstain, avoid, and work against his normal human desire for happiness and freedom. He was to do all of this or he be cast in the unspeakable place. And it would be forever.
He wondered what would happen to the Black Church of Christ. There were not any black people in his Church of Christ. Not one family. Not one person. It was upper middle class white people. Every member was white.
He had seen a charming black family visit once on a rare moon – They sit in the last row, and listened to the sermon. He remembered the lady in her nice hat and whole family very respectfully listening in the back row. He felt sorry as they were visibly feeling awkward. They were nice people he could see that. They were poor but had nice clothes, and were in their best suits. They looked like maybe they had been purchased at a second hand store. They weren’t quite in style somehow. But they were very nice in any case. Hanson liked them at first sight. They were dressed and they their second hand close respectfully, moreover, they wore them with dignity, and sat upright with dutiful attention to the sermon. No one had every welcomed them, though. No one even said hello, or even really acknowledged them. They never came back to visit again. This was the Church of Christ. Hanson had felt very sad about this. And angry, also, what a bunch of bastards his Church elders had been. That was a really shitty thing to do. God apparently wanted white Christians.
Nothing was good enough for this Ogre of a God, and despite the boy’s dislike for Hell, he did not want to have any part of this heaven.
Heaven as far as he understood it was to stand around forever in robes and sing praises to God. His mother told him that he thought…He had heard it from somewhere. The Church, they tell you every fucking, agonizing detail about hell. All the time, they pound it into you. But heaven, well they just kind of dried up. There was nothing much said about it. “There were streets of God.” Why the fuck–why were there streets of God, did we get cars in heaven? Was there traffic and pollution? Wouldn’t we have wings as angels? Why not fly around, who needed goddamned golden roads? God was such a bastard.
It didn’t really matter. Hanson knew he most likely was going to hell. It was almost certain. Yes, he thought it was the only possible outcome. He knew in the end that it must end up like this as his heart was not in it. It was only fear that made him have any will to try with all of his might to fight his urges to be a normal boy like his friends. But he forced himself to deny himself pleasure and to be a boy like everyone else
Bullies immediately honed in on him instinctively and when they hit him – he truly turned the other check. The Bible was wrong. The meek inherit do not the earth. They inherit oppression. The bullies rule the earth that is the school yard. And the boy would not fight back as it was a sin. And when he literally turned his cheek they only hit him again, but harder the second time.
What a dreadful God, and what a sadistic arbitrary list of self-deprecating rules and commandments.
And the boy fought back mentally and heard himself in his mind cursing at God. This was blasphemy and it was surely unforgivable. He hated God for asking him to live a life of suffering. He hated the reality of Hell– if he did not. And all of the anger towards God was a thought crime. So he prayed and begged forgiveness, and the cursing and anger grew stronger.
And the boy was full of fear. And this fear was like gasoline. It was combustible and now he had a Hell to ignite and explode fear into panicked flames. The boy wished he had never been born. He had not asked for any of this. He was not consulted. He would never have consented to it if he knew the whole saga which now plagued him from the very beginning.
During those horrible years he hid everything and told no one. Not one word to his parents. They might just agree what a sinner he was to think such things. He was utterly alone save the bullies and he became visibly distraught.
His parents inquired about it and he closed up like a mute. He turned inwards like a pill bug rolling inwards to enclose itself in a ball of safety. The bullies and prayers and fear continued and grew worse as he never told a soul.
Eventually his parents sent him to see a therapist. The therapist was absolutely useless. The boy wouldn’t tell him a thing as he knew that the doctor would surely tell his parents anything and everything.
Nothing could be done. It was clear to the boy he could not live this Christian life. He knew there was a Hell and because he held the belief that such a terror striking place did exit. And when one thinks, accepts, and truly believes something is real; at the very moment they do, then it truly comes into existence for all practical purposes. Anything is true when one accepts it. An objective universal truth of the opposite would not even matter to someone who already was absolutely certain that they already knew what was true.
That unthinkably cruel creation of the Christians was an appalling thing to teach a child though. And it made him hate those who had persuaded him to accept such a notion. It had been the greatest violation of his young, trusting mind. And he would never forgive the Christians for that god damned burden being inflicted upon him. “Let them have their hell, and let them burn in it,” he thought. He would have nothing more to do with it. So much for that; Fuck it.