Hell and Sunday School

As I had been an atheist since grade school, I found Sunday School at St. John’s Lutheran Church to be onerous. Mostly I kept my skepticism to myself, but confirmation classes presented a unique opportunity for speaking my mind. We were studying other religions and discussing various doctrines. I determined to challenge Christianity at its weakest point, the vulgar doctrine of hell. My plan was to demonstrate hell to be absurd (easy enough), implying that Christian doctrine is fallible and opening up all the rest to question.

One Sunday, I screwed up my courage and announced to the teacher, “I don’t believe in Hell.”


The teacher responded with “I don’t either.”


With the initial foray against dogma a total failure, I called off the whole assault. Speaking my mind would have to wait for college.


December 2006



Here in the Pacific Northwest, the treees grow like weeds. Plenty of water and mild conditions make them big and soft. Then the rains soak the ground and the winds knock the trees over.