By: Graceson C.
While perhaps not the case for everyone, my experience with religion growing up was one of obsessive fear as opposed to one of hope or peace. This impacted my mental health as I continued to grow and have doubts, and to see through being overtly rejected by entire communities as a young teen how I, a queer child, didn't fit into the image that Christians had of the church. Even before these experiences, my fundamentalist beliefs about the afterlife when I still identified as a Christian contributed to the aggravation of a then-undiagnosed anxiety disorder. I obsessed over my salvation and whether I believed enough to be let into Heaven.
I would think that any doubt I had meant that I would go straight to Hell, or that if the End Times came I would be punished, so I tried my hardest to avoid thinking of and interacting with things that might have caused me to lose my faith. My piece dives into my fears pertaining to the End Times, and my obsessions over the consequences of me being left behind. Now, having been several years away from Christian belief (not at all a quick or easy development for me), I can see the way I was affected by my beliefs about the End Times, especially when I live in an area that constantly speaks of how close we are to them. A lot of the reason I continued to be involved in Christianity, even when I knew I was no longer convinced, was a fear that had been ingrained in me that if I approached the End Times as a nonbeliever, I would end up in Hell and I would never see my family again. I didn't want to be left alone, staring at the remnants of my mother, as I am in my piece. I didn't want to never be able to see her ever again because I wasn't good enough.
Hon. Mention · High School Original Artwork (2022)