Embittered ex-Catholics, or non-Catholics who were subjected to Catholic schooling, seem to be the most vocal opponents of Christianity in particular and organized religion in general. God only knows what they do to them in there - given their vehemence I have to picture manacles, firepots, and lash-wielding inquisitors.

This is as opposed to embittered ex-Baptists, who become Wiccans.

TWAJS

I was raised a Catholic. I am no longer embittered, nor do I refer to myself as an "ex", although have not considered myself to be a Catholic for decades. I will, however, share this small story with you as an explanation of "what they did to us in there."

When I was in the third grade, I had probably reached my highest religious zeal as a Catholic. I took it all quite seriously. I had religious cards above the head of my bed. I wore a Sacred Heart of Jesus scapular. I'd bought it all hook, line and sinker. One day in catechism class, the nun was explaining sin to us. She told us to close our eyes. (Hey, Catholic guided meditation)! She told us to imagine Jesus dying on the cross. She told us to imagine him suffering in silence as his wounds hurt. Then she told us to imagine that each of us was standing at the foot of the cross, looking up at Jesus, dying for our sins. She told us to imagine now that we stooped down and picked up rocks and threw them at Jesus, dying on the cross for our sins. She said that each rock we threw was one of our sins, and the larger the sin, the larger the rock.

I wasn't the only child sobbing uncontrollably. The nun told us that we needed to reflect on the story and for us to quiet ourselves, put our heads down on our desks, and to think about it.

Oddly enough, there is a significant crossover phenomenon from the Roman Catholic Church to conservative evangelical Protestantism, and vice versa.

Some evangelicals are attracted by the rich symbolism of high church liturgy, while some Catholics are attracted by the direct and personal relationship with Jesus offered by born-again spirituality.

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