We lived with another family for a few months when we sold our house. I love this family, and I am sad we have gone separate ways. If other circumstances hadn’t drifted us apart, I am sure my being out as an atheist would have. The Lawrence’s are very devote. They are completely submerged in the culture of their church, the infamous International Church of Christ.
There were a lot of strange things about their beliefs that I noticed while living with them, but one of the most significant effects was the terror their two children had a bedtime. The Lawrence’s children were 12 and 9 at that time, and both were petrified of the dark, and had a terrible time falling asleep at night. Satan was very much alive to these children, and he was lurking around every corner waiting to steal their little souls. Part of their nighttime ritual involved reading a devotional, a verse or two from the bible, and praying. I was invited to listen to this a few times. I don’t think my friends realized how scary even casual mentions of Satan were to their children. Falling asleep was difficult for them. A light had to be on, all the room had to be checked and checked again, especially under the bed and in the closet. The children would whimper, and leave their beds numerous times before finally falling asleep exhausted, often on the floor of their parent’s room.
I wonder how many Christians realize they are terrorizing their children by scaring the Hell out of them.