My lifelong companionship with spiritual doubt began during my childhood, after my Christian salvation experience. It has to do with a lot of things, including the intensely evangelistic culture I grew up in where “making a decision for Christ” and/or “praying the sinner’s prayer” and/or “asking Jesus into your heart” were front and center of everything.
The were both the first steps and the pinnacle of the Christian faith (despite there not being any clear language about saying this prayer in the Bible). It took me several years to get up the nerve to do this, because it also required a public profession of my faith in front of the whole church, and I was terribly shy. That kind of thing scared me to death, almost as much as the thought of going to hell if I died without having prayed the prayer of salvation. (This gets a whole chapter, by the way, in O Me of Little Faith.)
Then again, I may also have seen this video of the puppet “Stephanie” explaining how to become a Christian, and it also is terrifying. I can’t imagine her convincing children of anything other than the fact that puppets are possibly demonic. Shudder.
[H/T: Christian Nightmares]