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How Do I Make It Stop


MrBungle
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My parents raised me Christian. I went to church multiple times a week all through high school, even ran the sound system during the services. When I went away to college and started to learn about the way things work in my math and physics and electronics classes I started to become more and more cynical. Eventually I turned my cynicism on the Noah's Ark story and needless to say the entire story is ridiculous. To make a long story short it drove me to question other amazing things in Genesis which eventually broke my faith.

 

The problem is that my parents are still Christians, to an even greater degree than they were when I first started college. The thing that bothers me is that I can't talk to my father anymore without him turning the conversation to something about God or how God helped him or me do some task or whatever.

 

To give you an example he recently told me that people are your friends not because they like you but because it is part of "Gods Plan". I tried to explain to him that some people have highly compatible personalities which makes it easy for them to form friendships. He then tried to tell me that there was nothing anyone could do to make anyone else like or dislike someone and that it was all Gods Doing. Am I the only one that sees how completely ludicrous his argument is?... anyway how can I get him to stop trying to inject God into everything? He's driving me crazy! Is there anyone else that has dealt with this? How did you get it to stop? Any advice?

 

thanks,

-J

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First of all, welcome aboard. :grin:

 

Eventually I turned my cynicism on the Noah's Ark story and needless to say the entire story is ridiculous. To make a long story short it drove me to question other amazing things in Genesis which eventually broke my faith.

I think Noah was a problem for me many years ago in a geology class but I just didn't know it at the time (I had to "modify" a few beliefs to get my new knowledge to co-exist with the story and the internet as we now know it didn't exist for all the apologists to console me). Rational thought sucks when it kicks in. :HaHa:

 

 

To give you an example he recently told me that people are your friends not because they like you but because it is part of "Gods Plan". I tried to explain to him that some people have highly compatible personalities which makes it easy for them to form friendships. He then tried to tell me that there was nothing anyone could do to make anyone else like or dislike someone and that it was all Gods Doing. Am I the only one that sees how completely ludicrous his argument is?

:twitch:

 

Wow. Sounds like predestination at it's finest. So then "god" predestined people to go to heaven and/or hell and life as we know it is basically a charade. The whole thing with jesus was meaningless since we can't choose to follow or not follow him. See where I'm going with all this? I'm not certain what your specific religious background is but unless it's something along the lines of Calvin, or some other group that buys into an "elect" or predestined group (or some other manner of "fate" as it were) then this line of reasoning should be at odds with most xian concepts of "free will" and a good area to discuss his philosophy.

 

anyway how can I get him to stop trying to inject God into everything? He's driving me crazy! Is there anyone else that has dealt with this? How did you get it to stop? Any advice?

No. You can't make him do anything. Sorry. You can try to reason with him but beyond that you have to decide to engage him or not. Perhaps if you can show your logic is more sound he will decide not to discuss this with you anymore but I doubt it from what little you've said so far. On the other hand it might be best to just not say anything at all. It almost sounds like your dad is going through a bit of a crisis where he doesn't believe he has any "true" friends and this is his way of justifying it to himself (a bit of a midlife crisis perhaps?). If so then it will pass on it's own but it will take time. I hate to sounds cliche but if that is what's happening then a "cure" might just be you being his friend (I know...yuck) and not challenging him.

 

On the plus side if things get so bad you can simply say that it is "god's" will that you have taken this point of view and that it is "god's" will that you two shouldn't speak of it anymore. Maybe that would work? :shrug::lmao:

 

Hopefully others will chime in with their opinions (I know some have gone/are going though similar things so maybe they'll be more helpful that I) but this is what popped into my head.

 

mwc

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I agree with mwc. You can't change HIS behaviour, only your own.

 

So you have several options. You can politely tell him to keep the mentioning of god to a minimum because it's bothering you. But I suggest this only if you do not think it would cause trouble.

 

Or, you can try "training" him without saying anything. If he starts bringing up god, become passive. Let your eyes glaze over, let your body language become passive, and don't respond or add anything to the conversation besides a non-commital "Unh hunh" or whatever then switch the subject. Don't be obvious about it, but eventually it will register in your dad's brain that if he wants to talk to you and get you to respond, he needs to cut the god speak.

 

If he ever starts asking you direct questions you can say, "I'd prefer not to talk about it. It's a personal subject for me." And just keep repeating that. They pretty much HAVE to respect it.

 

Your third option here is to learn not to care. I know it's hard, especially with your deconversion so raw and fresh, it's kind of like salt in the wounds. But seriously, xianity is going to prevail and you're not going to get away from it. But you can decide not to let it effect you.

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Kurari has some great suggestions.

 

Here is a site that will give more detail on how to train your dad and some additional strategies. It comes from Suzette Haden Elgin who wrote the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-defense.

 

http://www.adrr.com/aa/

 

I copied a chunk of it and stuck it in a Word document for future reference like now.

 

If you are living at home, I don't recommend conflict over the issues and may find Kurari's approach most effective.

 

There is something else to consider. Some people have a difficult time with small talk and social talk. I am one of them and people sometimes think I'm rude because I'm not given to plaver. If someone has a penchant for analyzing/exploring things then I come to life.

 

As well, I don't know a lot of males (boys to our dads) who have a good grasp of who their dad is/was. Certainly, bringing things back to god all the time will frustrate your efforts to get to know him.

 

Consider this, as a parent, you don't necessarily want your child to understand you. You love your kids and you don't have a need for your child to validate you by showing understanding. You know that 20 years from now, if you are dead, they will eventually understand... once they are fully grown.

 

What you want for your child is to be successful in life, to be able to get along in the world and to build a network of friends and their own family. If your child understands you personally, it is secondary to giving your child everything he/she needs to live well. That is real love.

 

Now let's add the complication of religion. Your dad may be seeing you slip away from Jesus. (You haven't related to us how open you are about your deconversion.) And since in his mind, there is nothing more important than being saved he would naturally want to make an impact on you before you move out of his sphere of influence. I don't think there is a cure for that except maybe Kurari's approach.

 

Kind of rambling but hopefully you have different angles to consider.

 

Good luck.

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He then tried to tell me that there was nothing anyone could do to make anyone else like or dislike someone and that it was all Gods Doing. Am I the only one that sees how completely ludicrous his argument is

 

So, human beings are nothing more than puppets. God must be awfully busy, moving people around like they were chess pieces. And, no, you're not the only one. It is a completely ridiculous idea, spawned by a brain on tilt.

 

Forget talking any sense into your dad. A parent isn't going to listen to a kid. Not about religion.

 

I'd just tell him you don't want to discuss religion and leave it at that. The more involved the conversation gets, the more you're gonna lose ground.

 

Don't ever let someone else tell you how to think. (but you can still keep that idea to yourself when it comes to parents)

 

p.s. I see that was your first post. Welcome to ex-c. Make yourself at home.

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Thanks guys, for the replies. I've been spending allot of time reading through this site and doing some studying on my own, of the way that Christianity brain washes people. My hope is that someday i will be able to get my father to turn on his brain and see things for what they are. I can remember how people used to roll their eyes at me when i tried to preach at them all through high school and now I find myself doing the same thing whenever my parents start preaching at me.

 

At this point I'm not sure what the correct course of action is, tell me what you think.

 

Part of me wants to take my parents aside and sit down and intelligently and logically analyze every testable story in genesis. It would be an attempt to break their faith by showing them all the evidence against what they take to be the literal truth written by god. I've spent the last year or so studying the topic of origins and would consider myself to be well educated on evolution, astronomy, geology, and archeology. (For a lay person anyway) I've gotten into it with my dad about evolution before and backed him into a corner tearing down every one of his arguments (I even presented a few he hadn't thought of yet), he ended up using the copout change the subject defense of "well I don’t see how you can believe all this evolution trash when prophecy is true".

 

The other part of me wants to just let them talk, bite my tongue and allow them to believe this lie. I'm not sure if it would make them happier or depress them greatly to lose the faith. To be honest they may be in too far to be talked out of it. What are your thoughts?

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I think you need to sit and think about your motivations. Are you trying to do a Reverse Gospel on them? Trying to evangelize the Thinking Man's way of truth and light to them? Fill their heads with science because you think it's better for them?

 

I'm not saying that science isn't the truth or anything, but many new de-converts end up making the same mistakes as new converts. They've found a new way of life that is wonderful, and they want to share it with everybody whether they want to hear it or not.

 

People in general don't like being told what to think. They want to discover new concepts by themselves and find out about it on their own. No matter how hard you hammer at whatever concept you want to get into their heads, it's going to be harder than cutting diamond until they are ready to listen.

 

BUT

 

This doesn't mean you have to sit by and bite your tongue. Keep talking about science concepts and tearing down the Bible if it gets brought up in conversation. Just keep it respectful, logical, thoughtful, and without any sort of agenda in mind. One day, who knows, it might finally stick.

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