The Secular Spectrum: Born Free (of God)
Though I was raised as an agnostic, when I was about 10, I began praying silently before bed:
Now I lay me down to sleep,I pray the Lord my soul to keep,If I should die before I wake,I pray the Lord my soul to take.I must've picked it up from TV or the movies. The reason I was doing this wasn't because I had secretly become religious. I interpreted the prayer as a threat that God might kill you in your sleep if you didn't pray to him.
God was the boogeyman, the monster under my bed.
I also deeply feared Bloody Mary, which Dale McGowan amusingly recalls in his latest post. To me, both God and Bloody Mary were equivalent--demons to be feared. If God didn't get me, the ground might open up and Devil would suck me into the bowels of Hell.
Though I was a fearful child, I was able to shake this strange habit for a girl who would mouth the prayers she was forced to recite before lunch in school. (Both events happened when I lived in Birmingham, Alabama.)
One day, I thought, "This is silly. I don't even really believe in God. I should stop this."
I didn't gather up the courage right away, but eventually I stopped praying to the imaginary killer in the sky.