I remember school assembly being the first place where I confirmed the already suspected non-existence of the Christian variety of the all-seeing, omnipotent, but strangely insecure, ‘God’.

I was seven.

It was when all of the two hundred or so pupils were stood up ready and the teacher leading the compulsory morning hymn singing assembly, sat at the piano ready to tinkle something that started ‘Give me oil in my lamp….’–which already made no sense as we all had electric lights, even by the time I was seven, and I didn’t know what a lamp you had to put oil in actually was– stated ‘Everyone must sing. If you do not sing, He will know. And He will likely strike you down.’ (I wouldn’t bother to use a capital letter for He, but it was a quote of what the teacher said, and he did use a capital letter like that. ‘He’. Also, it was the early 1970’s, so god was definitely a He then, although, from the pictures I had been shown, he wasn’t fond of the modern fashion for eight-inch flared trousers. Or even trousers in general.)

And, because the young bryntin was largely as disrespectful of authority and tradition as the older bryntin, on that day I chose to rebel. I stood there and didn’t sing. Just to see what would happen. Because in my seven year old mind at a British Christian school, I had been led to think that thunderbolts were a thing and that was how God dealt with people he was angry at for not believing in him.

But I figured I had never seen anybody get thunderbolted, even foul-mouthed Ricky from the other housing estate, and I was pretty sure it would feature on the news or in the papers if, for example, the chief all-seeing entity had actually seen any Dave Allen on the telly and so had thunderbolted him. So I was fairly confident of my position.

But this may have accounted for the look of fear in the friends stood immediately next to me at the school assembly, as they were obviously wondering what the collateral damage area of an imminent thunderbolt strike might be.

Anyway, that memory was stirred as I signed this, just in case you were wondering why it appeared on my twitter feed widget thing.

And why I heartily support young children not having these attempts to frighten their individuality out of them with tales of vengeful magic and the like, especially before they have a chance to learn everything real they need to successfully negotiate this confusing but wonderful world with.

11 thoughts on “flying friday fought… sorry… thought; thunderbolts

  1. I can relate to everything you say here. My father was a minister and I had to believe and do (out of fear of the thunderbolt) what he espoused (and everyone went along with)…good boy Donald….God will be pleased with you……

    It all changed when I went to university. We were told to question everything. Don’t accept things just because someone says so. You will relate to this. But it doesn’t make sense dad. You must believe the bible son. Shit bryntin. A questioning university student living with deeply religious old-school parents.

    I did survive and never experienced any thunderbolts so God can’t be too upset with me.

    In conclusion they were good parents to me. The only thing if you can call it a ‘belief’ is i reckon there’s gotta be something after death. I can’t believe that after 90yrs here it ends with absolutely nothing. To me it’s not logical. Recycling of souls? That’s a topic for another day.

    Have I actually been serious throughout all this?………

    Liked your fought/thought…….

    I thought END COMPULSORY WORSHIP was going to be a youtube video by “Gabriel and the Flying Angels” (if I remember right). Was waiting for the red triangle to appear but no-go. Have you got the right plug-in?


    1. it’s a screenshot, that’s why it doesn’t go anywhere.
      an equal question to what happens after death is ‘what happened before life?’, and no one seems to ask that one much, but I suspect it’s about the same. bollock all.


  2. Sing along with me bryn

    Give me oil in my lamp keep me burning
    Give me oil in my lamp I pray
    Give me oil in my lamp keep me burning
    Keep me burning till the break of day

    Shit, I’ve even got the tune in my head. Think I’ve been brainwashed bryn…

    What do you recommend for de-brainwashing?

    I can regress further. As they handed around the collection plate at Sunday kindergarten

    Here the pennies dropping
    Dropping one and all
    Every one for Jesus
    (Gonna have a ball)

    Ad lib last line can’t remember

    Help bryn, I’m a religious mess…..


  3. I can’t see God as being a surely grumpy old sod, half Great White Father/half Thor the Thunderbolt King. But Who knows? I don’t have any, much less much faith left in a God like that.
    And if the Almighty couldn’t even blow away the devilishly less than saintly Dave Allen off the TV screen there’s even less likelihood that He’s got an ear cocked for a Minor’s transgressions.
    Maybe it’s time to look and Book a little refreshment lecture/sitting with Father McDevine? See if he and He can put us right? (Nope. Too damn late in this case.)
    Seriously, this Christianity for All in school is wrong wrong wrong.


  4. Outstanding. I personally stopped believing in a “god” of any kind many years ago, and it hasn’t had any impact on my life. I remember rebelling in Sunday school on the day they made us assemble coin boxes with the intent that we would go around our neighbourhoods begging for coins. I couldn’t understand why any god would need small children to do that. From my perspective, organized religion is mostly full of hate for just about everything. And I love Dave Allen–thankfully he was spared from being thunderbolted.

    Liked by 1 person

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