I have just joined ex-christian.net because I've decided that since it's a new year, I should take concrete steps to save my sanity from my fundamentalist parents' brainwashing attempts. My parents converted to Christianity when I was 6 years old, and I've gone to church until I was 21. I am 25 years old now, but I still feel like Christianity and the church have a stronghold on me, like emotional blackmail, because my dad has recently been ordained as pastor, so I am a pastor's daughter now. Every time I visit my parents, there is never a question of me not going to church with them on Sunday, because even before my dad became a pastor he was an important figure at church, so my showing up at church when in town was as much a show of family solidarity as it was for religious purposes. I don't really mind having to sit through 2 hours of sermon, but what pains me is having to fake a big smile and pretend to be what I am not. Going to church was always something I put up with rather than enjoyed, because I never got along with anybody at church, I found them 'unreal', it seemed like everybody was everybody's best friend, when in real life you have to have something to offer to make friends, at church there was a ready-made group of friends. It felt like a community for the socially awkward. I also only went to church because I was afraid of going to hell, I thought I had no choice because if I don't believe in God, I'm going to hell, so I went to church reluctantly. I only finally stopped going to church after having a religious crisis during university, being surrounded by atheists doings things I wasn't supposed to do, and having never had a strong conviction for Christianity, I naturally fell by the wayside and stopped being a Christian.
I only graduated from university last July, and became financially independent in August, but I felt like it would be the start of a new beginning because if I live in a different country from my parents and they don't have to support me financially anymore, surely they can loosen their religious hold on me now? I didn't work, in fact, they seem to be more fervently preaching and emotionally blackmailing me now by the form of email. The thing that makes my parents religious tyranny worse is the fact that we are Chinese, and Asian families hold family values in high regard, meaning that kids are always to obey their parents, no matter how old they are. If you argue, you are disrespecting your parents. So I have the double-whammy of fundamentalist Christian Asian persecution.
To give you a taste of what I get in my email inbox every other day, here are some select quotes:
' Free will does not contradict God's masterplan because whether or not we choose to follow him or not, God still carries out His plan of redemption. God does not hope. He decrees and human free will is within God's plan that it does not contradict God's plan.' yet he says:
'.....we can do things without God's blessing, and the result can be.................' (Dad's comment when we were discussing marriage. He would prefer if I married a Chinese Christian)
'You stopped going to church, did I yell? It's your loss, really. Instead of witnessing to the world, the world has overcome you.' (He always portrays me as a passive person that has been corrupted rather than someone who just grew up and made their own choices)
'So, you think you have found the city you like to live in? Allow yourself plenty of time to ponder, and remember we have the final say on one of your life's most important decision. One wrong move, you might as well start over again as a baby! ' (I told him I've decided that London is the place for me, and somehow out of the blue, he dragged marriage into the discussion. He puts a lot of emphasis on marriage, always saying that one wrong move and my life will be over)
' I am about the only person on earth who has the authority, position and historical reason to lecture you even though you are 25. God lectures me every day, and it is my duty to tell my children what's right or wrong. '
'Are you being an Anti-Christ??' (yelled by my mom with wild eyes when I visited 2 weeks ago, because I told her I really don't like going to church and don't like church people)
'you are not just lucky to get this position. Like I said, you are in an enviable position that almost all HK Baptist Churches pray for our situation' (when I told my dad that I was lucky to get a job so quickly)
'The truth is the truth is the truth. No amount of persecution will stop people delivering GOD's message or preach to others something not in the Bible, or avoid teaching what people don't like to hear. In the Roman empire, sodomy, all kinds of sexual activities including homosexual ones were just one factor that brought down the whole empire. Before a country goes down, its moral standard always goes down in tandem if not faster. You can say that the Chinese Communist Party is following the same route. Their only hope is if Christianity in China spreads wide and fast enough to turn people away from their sinful ways to avert their collapse.'
there were also some quite threatening quotes that I couldn't find, alongide the lines of 'God will punish you if you don't follow his will', and many pepperings of various bible verses throughout emails.
I know I might sound a bit ungrateful for having parents who care so much about my wellbeing, but the way they are expressing their love to me is starting to cause me much distress. I want to see a shrink to see what I can do about it, but I can't afford it. I can't argue with them because they are so deeply ingrained in their beliefs that it's useless to try to make them understand, as many of you would know. On top of that, they accuse me of 'losing my Chinese traditionalism' when I try to assert my independence and different opinions. My dad says that I have been brainwashed by the liberal West and that I don't know it. It might be hard for you to understand if you are not from a culture where parents are supreme, but right now I feel a deep dreadful feeling inside me because of my parents, and this is the only source of unhappiness in my life right now. I feel guilty for living my life as I see fit, but I know that life is short and I need to do what I think is right, but it hurts that what makes me happy (not being a Christian, not going to church, living with my boyfriend) is what my parents see as mortal sin. They don't even know that I live with my boyfriend, if they did, I would have hell to pay, despite being 25 and financially independent.
I would like to hear what your thoughts are about this situation, any help would be appreciated. Thank you very much!