Hi Hannah, this is a great piece. But as someone who came to faith at 20, who denounced Christianity and was a staunch atheist until I was in college, it’a discouraging to hear so many accounts of cult-like churches and bad experiences with churches that purport to be Christian. I didn’t personally have bad experiences with the church, but rather had good experiences with the Christians I exposed myself to.
It begs into question how we’re supposed to raise kids with religion. I came to be a Presbyterian of my own choice and volition after a lot of life experiences and thought. If it’s something you’re being indoctrinated with at a very young age, then I have pretty mixed feelings about faith in general. I know they’re not all cult-like churches like your own but to some degree, each religious organization does have cult-like tendencies.
Heck, the cross country team I was on in college was called a cult by a lot of people. That’s probably the closest I came — being a part of an organization where I spent all my time with the same people and sacrificed a lot of time for. Those were some of the happiest days of my life and the people who knew me best, so where is the line for when something can be a quote?