Candy bars and Key chains

April 9, 2008
By
When I was six I thought Jesus Christ was a type of cheese.

I had just moved to The-Middle-Of-Nowhere Colorado, a small yet predominantly Christian town where the number of churches surpassed the voting adult population (which wasn’t very hard mind you). When I was eight, I joined a bible-study group upon a friend’s request. We sang songs, did arts and crafts, and memorized funny sounding poems for giant candy bars; which was all pretty cool in my young eyes. The people leading my fun filled Wednesday nights had us children put on plays about a magician who gave a man his eyeballs back, why we gave up candy for belly button lint, and how one Sunday a year was associated with palm leaves, or so my childish mind interpreted. All my friends and I cared about was getting candy bars, awards, and key chains.

I eventually left this program for the next coolest thing (be it ballet, karate, or volleyball) and let the year of bible study become lost in the dark recesses of my mind. Over the years I noticed Christianity’s prominence in the town’s public schools and was even victimized by a teacher for not identifying myself as Christian. (I don’t plan to turn the experience into some sob story, write a book about it which in turn becomes a major motion picture starring Abigail Breslin as yours truly. It was one week of my life that was only added in for the plot development of this piece.)

It wasn’t until I was twelve, during a religion studies unit, that I realized the poems I was memorizing were scriptures, Jesus was neither cheese nor a magician, and Lint was not the same as the fuzzies in your belly button. This had me thinking, why did I join a bible study group and what did I really learn.

Many churches are using the same tactic across America, luring kids in at an impressionable age with sweets and toys. This way, when kids are old enough to understand, the religion they’ve been memorizing, singing, and making art about is as imprinted on them as the dangers of running with scissors.

Today I have moved from The-Middle-Of-Nowhere Colorado to Seattle. This has given me the opportunity to experience different cultures, ideas, and religions. I have come to a conclusion about my beliefs, not with the temptation of candy bars and key chains but with a genuine interest in many different religions and not-so-serious contemplation.

I am not a Christian and Cheesus Christ would be an interesting cheese.





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