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An Unholy Trinity: A Six Year Old's Perspective on Religion and World Events

Updated on November 28, 2016
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Chris practices free writing which often produces humorous or introspective results with practical applications to living life more fully.

The Flag of the Soviet Union


The unholy trinity was not what I called them at age six, but reflecting back more than fifty years, I know that's how I felt about them. Three monsters is what I saw on the IMAX in my head, three stars of a horror film being acted out in my world, the real world. I could not have told you of a specific evil any of them had committed. Impressions were more effective at shaping a young mind than straightforward instruction.

Cronkite told me bedtime stories about the Bay of Pigs, the construction of a wall in Berlin and the mass murder of religious people behind the Iron Curtain. Names of places meant nothing to this boy growing up a quarter mile from the nearest county road, surrounded by alfalfa patches and cornfields. But somehow three names reached out and forced themselves into my consciousness.

They were the essence of evil, not that I understood either essence or evil at the time, but these three were the stooges in a tragedy taking place on the world stage, a production I ignored because the stakes were so enormous. I cowered from them and hid my young face in things familiar, innocent things such as ponies, calves and barn kittens.

They were ensconced in my mind as twisted deities. History books characterize two of them as ruiners of a world already on the verge of social and political upheaval. One died in Moscow in the early seventies. Another outlasted his contemporaries by decades and passed away in Cuba. The unholy trinity is now down by two, and the one who remains isn't going anywhere.

Flag of Cuba Before the Sky Blue Was Changed to Darker Blue


But in the early 60s, all three were alive and well. I had an image in my mind of the three faces of evil, and in my heart I harbored a scheme to take them down. It seems silly now. Hell, it was silly. But you couldn't have convinced me of that in those days. I only knew that evil followed these three and that people suffered and died because they lived. That was my six year old perception. So I plotted their downfall.

I sat beneath two boxelder trees in our yard. I had just come from digging through my father's tool box. It's odd how clear this memory is when others are so clouded and distorted by time. In my hand I held three spike nails, each about five or six inches long. In the other hand I held a hammer.

One by one I drove the spikes into the dry dirt of midsummer in Indiana. In my minds eye, I could see the sharp points protruding down into the tunnels of hell. What was I thinking? What could possibly have been on the developing mind of that innocent child?

Here is what I know for certain about one of the clearest memories from my childhood. I fully intended for Nikita Khrushchev, Fidel Castro and Satan, as they strolled together along the highways and byways of hell, to pass beneath my trap, scratch their heads on the nails and die from an infection.

Your Interpretation

Was this act of mine the result of absorbing the news of the day and blending it with the teachings of Christianity? Was this a psychological experience, a spiritual experience or the active imagination of a budding fiction writer?

I look forward to your thoughts in the comments below.

Satan Presides Over Hell


Historical Events at This Time in My Life

  • My Birth-1957
  • Childhood in very religious home. Satan considered to be a real being.
  • The anti-religious campaigns of Krushchev and the USSR- 1958-1964.
  • The Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis-1961-1962.
  • My Solution-Summer of 1963, just prior to the assassination of JFK.


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    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 5 months ago from SW England

      I remember some of these things you mention (born in 1951) and I certainly remember the assassination of JFK. However, at the age of 6 I was still experiencing my idyllic childhood, sheltered from evil by a loving family and lucky enough to have a peaceful village life.

      However, I would think your imaginative way of dealing with evil would come from using tools that you were familiar with to do your bit to make a difference. What else can a child do?

      Great title! It grabbed me instantly.


    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 13 months ago from Missoula, Montana at least until March 2018

      Likewise, my friend.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 13 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Proud to know you sir.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 13 months ago from Missoula, Montana at least until March 2018

      Lawrence, I am sorry I missed this comment. I appreciate you reading this account and for your comment. I suppose the world has always had plenty of these characters. It seems that when we do actually get rid of them, ten more rise up and make matters even worse if possible.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 13 months ago from Missoula, Montana at least until March 2018

      Shauna, I apologize for missing your comment. I was helping my mom at about this time. She had broken a bone in her foot. This recollection is something I still have clearly in mind. I wholeheartedly believed they were in league. I appreciate you taking time to read and comment.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 14 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand


      I came along a couple of years later (1961) so some of these things I don't remember.

      My family weren't 'religious' so I didn't get the 'Hellfire' and damnation stuff, though as a teenager I got to see the 'Fence' that went with that 'walk' and the Death camps' that left me convinced the third one of your 'unholy trinity' was real!

      "All it takes for evil to prosper, is for good men to do nothing!" (G. K. Chesterton).


    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 14 months ago from Central Florida

      Chris, you and I were born in the same year. But there's a difference between you and me. I knew nothing of the evils you remember so clearly today, when I was six. Perhaps I wasn't allowed to watch the news. Perhaps I chose not to watch the news, as I do today. As far as Satan, I don't remember him ever being discussed in our house(s).

      However, the fact that you wanted to get rid of evil - and in a perfectly logical way - is creative and admirable. If only it were that easy......

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 14 months ago from Missoula, Montana at least until March 2018

      Ruby, I'm sure you are aware of what many Christians call spiritual warfare. God and Satan are in a battle that has been going on since Satan first rebelled. I have a question? Why has God allowed this to go on for any amount of time at all? He is God. Why is he playing around with Satan like a cat plays with a mouse? In the physical world, men like Krushchev and Castro, are used by either God or Satan in this ongoing battle. This is what I was wrestling with as a six year old child. Big stuff for a small mind.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 14 months ago from Missoula, Montana at least until March 2018

      Larry, I believe he had about 25 years of personal attention. Too much attention from the wrong person.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 14 months ago from Southern Illinois

      I remember well when we feared the Cuban missile crisis. I remember thinking we all could die and Russia would take over America. I think religion was a strong factor in your thinking as a child. I know it was in my childhood. Satan was someone to fear as well as God. It took me years to unlearn some of the fears instilled by my grandmother. Now I know God is love and not to worry too much about the news.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 14 months ago from Missoula, Montana at least until March 2018

      Becky, your husband is a little older than me, so he remembers these things well and probably understood more about what was happening. I only knew that people suffered and these three were responsible. I've always been a fix-it kind of person, so I did try to fix the problem.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 14 months ago from Missoula, Montana at least until March 2018

      MsDora, You are right, I did grow up in an atmosphere of moral black and white. No shades of grey there. So I put all three into the camp of evil and sentenced them to death. All I lacked was the ability to carry out the sentence. I appreciate your thoughts on this topic.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 14 months ago from Oklahoma

      Castro really had some leverage for a while.

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 14 months ago from Hereford, AZ

      I was too young to remember these events, but my husband did. He was in Catholic High School at the time and told me how terrified the entire country was during the Cuban missile crisis. They had drills that they did about diving under the desks for shelter and not knowing if they would live through it. I think as a young child from a very religious family, you probably had a very normal reaction. Probably if your parents had known of your feelings, they would have toned down their talk. You being so young would have connected them naturally.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 14 months ago from The Caribbean

      I think that a child, I would have been afraid to connect these two power-crazy individuals to Satan. You on the other hand were probably more capable of visualizing the great controversy between good and evil, and sensitive to the fact that not belonging to one side (good) meant belonging to the other (evil). That speaks to your clear focus and decisiveness. Impressive presentation here.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 14 months ago from Missoula, Montana at least until March 2018

      Venkatachari M, It might have been interesting to have lived in a country in the early 60s which had good relations with both superpowers. While I could never condone mass killings, there are other aspects of Soviet society which have been vilified in the west, but which may have worked for those people. It was such a polarizing time.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 14 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      I don't know the exact thing, Chris. But, perhaps our country had friendly relations both with Russia and China during those years. That might have been the reason. And, I was a child ignorant of any politics or vicious mentalities of people.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 14 months ago from Missoula, Montana at least until March 2018

      Venkatachari M, I'm still seeing my response as a child as untypical. I actually joined the violence, and, in my own way, attempted to kill Satan and his two most recent incarnations.

      Your consideration of Krushchev as a personality on par with Kennedy is very interesting to me. We grew up in distant parts of the world. What was to you a "Strong personality, was to me a man of Satan.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 14 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      I think it must have been a psychological experience of your mind, too much disturbed with all those news and events. An innocent child would always think in that same manner as you did.

      I was born in 1951, but far away in Chennai. I did not know about Cuba at that time. But was aware of Kruschev and Kennedy. Kennedy's death was a shock to me. But, we regarded Kruschev as a great personality just like Kennedy.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 14 months ago from Missoula, Montana at least until March 2018

      Those may have been the days when our planet was as close to annihilation as it will ever get. Let's hope that is true. Did we somehow stumble through those years with Nagasaki and Hiroshima being the lone victims of our nuclear insanity? The loss of two cities was an enormous price to pay. I've finally learned to say, in spite of my upbringing with such conservative religious and political views, that dropping atomic bombs on those people was not a good thing, was not God's will.

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 15 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

      Although born in what was a big city, (Houston) even in 1952, I played in the dirt, was forced to go to a Southern Baptist Church, and listened to Kronkite.

      WWI was my grandfather's war and he told us tales of communism and that it was a bad thing.

      WWII was my father's war (even though he was 4F at the time) He told us of the growing communist threat, and though I don't remember the name Kruschev, I certainly did hear about Fidel Castro enough to know he wanted to blow up all of the little kids in the U.S. of A. with Russia's help.

      I remember hearing the news of Kennedy's death, and LBJ, was a Texan, so I thought he would at least protect my state. But then I heard that LBJ himself might have orchestrated Kennedy's death.

      We didn't have the internet then, and so widespread rumor mills ruled the day.

      Funny, how that hasn't changed much.

      But the scariest thing of all, was sitting in school, practicing our "nuclear war dive under the desks", was the threat of Armageddon. No, not the nuclear one, the ones that graced our Fire and Brimstone Sunday Church meetings.

      Predictions of the "last days" were as common as penny candy, and they scared the bejesus out of me. Literally. That is the number one reason for my atheism of today. All the doom and gloom and hellfire predictions with no basis in facts.

      Why adults want to scare little kids so bad is still beyond my capacity to understand.

      But The Rumors Persist.