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JLeslie's avatar

What do you remember about the first time you heard about God?

Asked by JLeslie (61400points) 4 days ago from iPhone

How old were you?

Where were you?

What was the context?

What did it mean to you?

Any other thoughts on the topic feel free.

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25 Answers

Patty_Melt's avatar

I don’t remember that far back.
I was born on a Sunday. I was taken to church the next Sunday. I didn’t miss more than two Sundays each year for the first ten years of my life. I didn’t miss many more until I was sixteen.

Jeruba's avatar

The first time? Nothing. It would have been before I could talk.

If you mean “heard with understanding,” I still don’t know, but it would have been at home before I even started Sunday school. There were Bible verses, gospel songs, hymns, and plenty of prayer occasions, not to mention Bible stories, both from storybooks and from extemporaneous retellings. My mother liked to tell stories in her own words: Bible tales, Greek myths, episodes from the storybooks she had read as a child, and even opera plots. Samson, David and Goliath, baby Jesus, Theseus and Ariadne, Atalanta, the Princess and the Goblin, Dorothy Darling, Peter Rabbit, Bluebeard, and Madama Butterfly were all on the menu alongside family history, and I took them all in about equally.

I was taught to say my prayers as soon as I could talk. In our very religious home, no day passed without invoking a member of the Trinity more than once, and everyone had to take a turn.

I was also taken to church by my parents every Sunday, and my relatives were all very liberal with their sermonizing, pretty much at the drop of a hat.

All that practice made me the atheist I am today.

Kropotkin's avatar

My earliest memory of my theistic indoctrination was when I was 3 years old, when I attended St. Mary’s Catholic nursery school.

St. Mary’s church was ajoined to it, and that’s when they started lying to us about Jesus and god and other delusional nonsense.

JLeslie's avatar

What does nothing mean?

I’m not sure how I worded this poorly, but I guess maybe I did. I would think it’s obvious I mean the first time you REMEMBER hearing about God, not that it was talked about when you were a day old.

Or, does nothing mean you didn’t think anything about God when He was being mentioned in your first memories of hearing about Him?

JLoon's avatar

Not sure. My mom & dad remember.

I guess I was maybe 4. I heard someone say “Goddamit”, and I liked the way it sounded. I started saying it to myself first, then to everybody. “Goddamit hi” “Bye bye Goddamit”, “Goddamit potty”.

So my parents had a talk with me about God.

And timeouts.

Jeruba's avatar

@JLeslie, I would say “nothing” is intended as a direct answer to your question: “I remember nothing about the first time I heard about God.” In my case, and I presume in others, that means I was hearing about God before I was forming memories that I’m able to retrieve today.

Hearing about God was simply always there. You might as well ask about the first time I remember living in a house or having parents or being fed. What child remembers their first bath? It’s like that.

Something isn’t obvious unless it’s obvious to someone other than the speaker.

Nick88's avatar

My dad told me about God, Jesus, and Christianity when I was about 9 or 10 years old.
I can’t remember much except that it didn’t mean that much to me. Judging by what’s going on in the world now, I still think of it as mostly nothing more than fiction and mythology at best.
However, I would like something spiritual to believe in.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jeruba Thanks for explaining. I think of it differently, but that’s ok. Everyone has their own experience.

Even if God was always part of life I would think there was a moment of awareness, where a child contemplates who or what God actually is and what He is doing, but I wouldn’t expect everyone to remember that moment. I guess I didn’t exactly ask that.

No matter really, I’m still interested in the answers.

cookieman's avatar

I don’t know for sure, but I do know there was no official ‘talk’. No focused, sit down, where I was introduced to the concepts of god or religion.

I would think, based on how my family operated, it was more a collection of casual references and sayings. As if to say “of course there is a god and his son Jesus and we discuss them right alongside broccoli and how work was today.”

No one in my family is a staunch believer and certainly not very vocal about their beliefs. It was more of a general understanding that god exists, bible stuff is kind of true, and church is important — even if we rarely go.

I was raised by very lax Catholics who weren’t too concerned with the details.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I was raised in church, but the first I actually remember was learning there was a wonderful man in the sky who was our Father that looked after us and loved us. If we were good and listened to him (obeyed), we got to go to Heaven to be with our family when we died. If we did not listen, we went to hell to be with other bad people and burn in the fire for eternity.

My earliest memories in church are around 4 years old, reading in the pew and getting scolded for chatting. By 7 or 8, I had joined the church to a big celebration and all the church members holding hands and praying just for me.

jca2's avatar

I don’t remember what I first heard about God or when it was. My mother and my grandparents and aunts, uncles and cousins are and were not very religious. We would occasionally go to church, but it was more as a social thing when I was little. I went to Sunday school when the adults were at church but I don’t remember those details. I guess the main thing I probably heard about was the birth of Jesus, which primarily were around the holidays. Other than that, there were no deep discussions about God or punishments from God or glory from God.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I do remember the first time I heard about Noah’s Ark. I was about 7.
I thought it was absurd.

flutherother's avatar

My first memory is talking about God with my classmates and then staring up at the perfectly blue sky to try to see him. There was absolutely no sign of him and we were a bit disillusioned. I was probably around six or seven years old. I didn’t have a religious upbringing at home but I was taught to say a prayer last thing at night. We attended Sunday School for years which is probably where my ideas about God came from.

Caravanfan's avatar

I was brainwashed at a very young age (which was ironic since my parents were atheists), but they felt it was important I had a Jewish education. I actually really enjoyed it and we had a great time, especially at camp and our annual Disneyland trips. I really just have fond memories of the experience. I kept with the school through 18 years of age as a teacher, although by that time I was an atheist myself. I concentrated mostly on teaching Hebrew and Jewish holiday traditions.

seawulf575's avatar

The first time I might even have remembered (and I don’t) that someone spoke to me about God, I was probably just discovering my own penis. I was probably thinking about my wet diaper, or possibly that furry thing that made purring sounds outside the crib on the floor.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

Maybe 4 years old, as best I can remember. My parents got a children’s Bible and would read me stories out of it occasionally. My two sisters were to little for that at the time. Frankly, I was a history buff from an early age. I enjoyed hearing about the Babylonians, Assyrians, Philistines, and other ancient cultures. Those ancient warriors and kings had it going on. Never paid much attention to all of the God stuff. And what little I did glean from the theological aspect of it, was that God, whoever or whatever is, is an asshole. Of course that term didn’t enter my childish mind, and I never voiced my thoughts to mom or dad, but I suppose that was the general gist of my thinking. As I grew older and into early adolescence, I only went to Sunday School or church, to meet new girls who didn’t attend my school. I thought then, and still think today, that the Bible stuff is just to far fetched to be true. That said, and I’ve said it before, I can’t rule out at least the possibility that some sort of Higher Power, if you want to use that term, might exist. Let’s just say that in my philosophy, it is very possible but highly improbable. I’ll leave it at that. Just one more thing, to the eternal credit of my parents. They were churchies, but not in your face about it, because mom was Irish Catholic and Dad was Baptist. But they loved each other and worked around that. At a certain point in my adolescence, I admitted to the both, that I was not, and never had been a believer, at best I’d call myself agnostic. They took it well, and never trashed me about it. For my own part, I decided that the least I could do, was to repay the tolerance and respect for my views they had shown, by giving then them same respect in return. I never critiqued the Bible or religion, at least never in front in my folks and their church friends, or their Priest of Pastor. Worked out well, and taught me to adopt a live and let live attitude on things religious. Just don’t preach to me or thump a Bible in my face, and I’ll allow you to indulge in your Sky Daddy fantasies unmolested.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

RE: @Dutchess_III and her Noah response. I had a similar reaction. And thought to myself, again never voiced to my parents, that If God was really so all mighty, seems he could have found a better way to deal with bad folks, than wiping out all life. Couldn’t reconcile all of that with the “Heavenly Father” loves me thing.

Brian1946's avatar

I remember me sainted mother yelling “Goddammit!”, when she prayed that there was a mix up at Babies R Us. ;-o

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Nomore_lockout…that and a thousand more questions that no one has an answer to. I don’t like not having answers..

Dutchess_III's avatar

And didn’t Noah get drunk and have sex with his daughter in law? That was the best man in all the world God could find?

Nomore_lockout's avatar

Yes. He did @Dutchess_III If
he was the best I’d hate to see the worst. Fore Shore.

JLeslie's avatar

Abraham had a baby with a servant. Supposedly, with his wife’s permission. This child and then the first son of the wife are the beginning of the Middle East conflict.

All these wives and so many women these men had sex with seems obvious the books were written by men.

I know I heard about God at Passover dinner but it just seemed like stories to me. I didn’t really take in who God was supposed to be.

My mom would say things like “why is God punishing me?” On a bad day. I still didn’t really understand some people actually thought there was a deity controlling things.

I think I must have been a young teenager when I started to understand some people pray to God to actually have God do something.

My family never talks about God regarding our own lives, so it was basically absent from my rearing. I just eventually became aware other people believe in God. Especially, when I was dating my high school boyfriend. I was 15 almost 16. His family was Catholic.

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