Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Life Stories - Harry H. 2

David Markham - Harry you said that relationships you believe have caused the most suffering in your life. Can I ask what has been your greatest fear?

Harry H. - I think it has been that I'm not good enough, that I am defective in some way, that I am inadequate and will come up short. My biggest fear is shame.

David Markham - Where does that come from?

Harry H. - Probably from my father. I was always afraid of him. He would call me and my brother names and sometimes he would get angry and hit us. He and my mother would fight and I would feel very scared. As a small boy I avoided him and was always on guard around him because I didn't want to upset him. I was never sure about what might set him off.

David Markham - Has your faith helped?

Harry H. - Well sort of, but in many ways it made my sense of inferiority even worse. I was afraid of committing mortal sin and going to hell. I was raised Catholic and so when I was 7 I made my first confession and had to tell the priest all the things I did wrong and that I had done bad things. It was a relief to get absolution and feel at least for a while, until I inevitably sinned again, that I was all right and that God could love me at least a little bit and wouldn't send me to hell.

David Markham - It seems that a lot of people were raised with the idea of a vengeful God who would send people to hell for any number of reasons for all eternity.

Harry H. - That's right and when I became an adult, not until my late 30s I think did I realize that a loving God would not send any one to hell for all eternity. On my own I slowly became a universalist before I even new that there was a religion called Universalism. When I realized this it made so much sense to me and my fears subsided about my sinful nature or anyone else's for that matter.

David Markham - So it sounds like you came by your universalistic beliefs on your own without any special introduction or teaching.

Harry H. - That's right. It just logically made sense to me. I wondered why religion put the fear of god into people and then I realized it was the way that the religious people like the priests and nuns had control and power over people. They scared people with this boggy man theology. I certainly worked on me for years. I started to loose my belief in the God of my youth and young adulthood. It didn't make sense to me any more. I didn't come to Unitarian Univesalism though until my  middle 50s. I had just fallen away from Catholicism and probably would have called myself an agnostic or a humanist if anyone had asked me.

David Markham - So what brought you to Unitarian Universalism?

This is section #2 of the Life Stories interview with Harry H.

1 comment:

  1. It's amazing how so many people have been manipulated by the fear tactic. You will go to hell if you don't accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, if you basically don't do what we tell you to. People are so desparate that they latch onto these promises and it binds their anxiety.

    I think Harry has it right. I appreciate his sharing this sensitive experience with us.