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Maternal Unit Accuses Me Of Brainwashing My Younger Brother


SilentLoner
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This is a mixed rant and request for advice:

 

This morning my mom was giving me a ride to the metro station, and on the way she starts nagging me about the usual things, nothing odd there. Then suddenly she changes topics and informs me that my younger brother (he's 18) told her this morning during an argument that he doesn't believe in god, apparently because "Stephanie (me) says so."

 

She proceeds to tell about how he needs some "inner hope" to succeed in this world and give him strength since he doesn't have many friends and none of us are close with our extended family. I get why she's anxious, my brother has special needs, he is slow to process information at times and has some trouble with social skills (problems becuase he was born prematurely). Other than that he is pretty capable of things. I know he really looks up to me though. I've told him I don't think god is real, but made a point of telling him not to say it just becuase I did. My mom has a belief in a "higher power" not necessarily god but the whole "inner force" thing. Trust me, it borders on the regular xtian stuff. She's gotten way more into it recently due to life issues.

 

First off, I have never had a direct conversation that I can recall with him about god/xtinaity, although I have said aloud that god isn't real. Most likely he overhead me talking about it to someone else on the issue. We were both officially raised catholic, I was definitely more into it than he was - I actually urged my parents about getting my communion and going to church, he never had the communion ceremony, church not so much (definitely a good thing). Our parents weren't overly religious (my mom grew up nonpracticing muslim, converted to catholisim to please fundie grandma, my dad catholic but he didn't really take the faith seriously - he took up this guru indian cult and eventually ended up dumping us for it). But the culture - we were living in El Salvador - and extended family was way into it. We've since moved back to the states, and of course I don't want him to be suckered back into the faith.

 

A few months ago he told me that every morning mom would have him pray in the car before they left for safety. And that made me upset, I told him he didn't have to do it if he didn't want to. And he has started really showing a rebellious side recently. I'd love to be able to explain to him why I'm atheist, but I'm not sure how to broach it or if he'll fully understand.

 

So what do you guys think? I think he should be free to think what he likes. He shouldn't have to depend on what my mom wants.

 

Thanks to anyone who reads. Its just been getting to me all morning.

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Well, if he came to his conclusion as a result of overhearing you talking, perhaps you could "accidentally" leave a book for him to find. If he can get it, he will. If not, he may ask you about it, and if HE asks, then you're not going out of your way to corrupt him, and can point that our to your parental unit.

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Basic question: are you still dependent on your "Maternal Unit" ? If not, you could just lay down the fact that you have your beliefs, she has her's, and now that your brother is 18 he has the right to have his own. I believe I read in another thread somewhere that the main reason parents still try to boss their adult children around is because they let them.

 

You can also point out the fact that belief isn't exactly a choice, so her point is moot. You can choose where you go in life, but belief is based on your understanding of the reality you encounter through that direction.

 

"You can help who you date, but you can't help who you fall in love with." is an old saying from an old teacher I had. The same is true for any belief. You can choose to go outside, but you can't control the optical nerves to make yourself see the sky as flashing psychadelic colors instead of light blue. Belief in god is the same - you can choose to think about the world or not, you can choose what philsophies to study, what religious texts to read and whether or not to read them honestly, but the conclusion as to whether or not there is a God is solely based on the best understanding you can garnish. If your brother doesn't believe there is a God, it is his deal. :68:

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Yes, unfortunately I'm still dependent (living at home attending university).

 

I don't let her boss me around, she just nags a lot (that's probably why). My brother is also dependent, more so because of his problems.

 

I like Emperor Nortonll's suggestion. I don't think a book would work, maybe I can leave my copy of "The god who wasn't there" around though.

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