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Well, I Dropped The Bomb!


crazycanuck
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On my mother today, that is. I think she has suspected for awhile that I was a bit disillusioned...but I think she was shocked when I told her I no longer believed her beliefs, and considered myself an athiest. It came up in conversation so I did it.

 

We discussed things for a long time....all about fossil evidence, historical evidence, geologiocal evidence, contradictions in the bible, and all that. How my logical mind could no longer accept this on blind faith. She said she was sad that she wouldn't see me in heaven. Asked me if it bothered me if I died....I said no as to me heaven didn't exist, so why would I mourn for/pine for something that wasn't there? I just have to do the best I can with the life I have here.

 

One thing that really bothered me that I had a hard time refuting, and I know that there is just no changing her mind, is the whole "I KNOW Jesus is real, I have EXPERIENCED him". Didn't know how to answer that without being rude and telling her it is all a figment of her imagination, of the glasses she is looking through. Don't know if I really need to convince her. Or IF i could...I asked if I could send her some "athiest apologetics" as it were...not just spouting off at the mouth god-pissed-me-off so he does not exist, but REAL stuff with logical concise arguments..like Ed Babinski, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Bart Elruth and other such stuff. I was suprised she would be brave enough to read it, as I certainly was not allowed to look at stuff like that as a questioning adolescent years ago, to see that "other side". It took me until my age now (38) to open up to my logical side!

 

She said she would read it to see where I was coming from, but I am SURE that it would not convince her as it kept coming back to that experiential argument of hers, that she has "experienced" god, answeres to prayer, etc. No matter what I said, or my comments of well that could have been coincidence, etc.

 

So, where do I go from here? I don't think I would be estranged from her or anything, she just said she still loves me but I KNOW she got off the phone and cried and prayed for my soul (I told her not to waste her breath). Just never bring it up again? I am curious as to how all of you have handled this

 

Tina

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So, where do I go from here? I don't think I would be estranged from her or anything, she just said she still loves me but I KNOW she got off the phone and cried and prayed for my soul (I told her not to waste her breath). Just never bring it up again? I am curious as to how all of you have handled this

 

Just go on with your life as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. Let her broach the subject again if she ever wants to.

 

You don't need to prove anything to her. If she really wants to understand your position I'm sure she'll ask and/or do her own research on the matter.

 

...if her pastor phones you maybe then you can worry...

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Ask her if she believes that the Muslims, Mormons, the Branch Davidians, the Jonestown folks, and the Hindus know God or not.

Each of them would say they experienced God, some quite dramatically. People from each of these groups have died for their gods.

Today in New Mexico is a group called "The Lord Our Righteousness Church" also known as the Strong City cult. The leader is believed by his followers to be Jesus himself. He is an ex-SDA pastor who has given himself a new name and who has sex with the women of the compound, who all believe they are "consummating" with the Son of God instead of committing adultery. They would all willingly die for him and they all have tremendous emotional/spiritual experiences with him. Well, not at the moment since he is in jail for being naked with underage girls, who also desperately want to "consummate" with him.

 

Experiencing God means precisely nothing when it comes to knowing if something is true or not. Each of these groups has the same or similar experiences as your mom, but she would most likely deny that there is any scrap of God with them. She would probably say that Satan counterfeits the experiences. This can of course be turned back on her, while pointing out the gross evil of the God of the Bible.

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Experiencing God means precisely nothing when it comes to knowing if something is true or not. Each of these groups has the same or similar experiences as your mom, but she would most likely deny that there is any scrap of God with them. She would probably say that Satan counterfeits the experiences. This can of course be turned back on her, while pointing out the gross evil of the God of the Bible.

 

That's exactly what she said. Sad isn't it. I did turn it back on her, but she kept going back to her subjective experiences. Goes to show what 30 yrs of brainwashing does to you. And to think I used to be so adamant about my experiences.

 

One thing though....could she turn this back on me, and say just because I haven't "experienced" God, see no "evidence", would I be wrong in saying he doesn't exist...not sure how I would answer this in the heat of the moment. In her deluded mind, she sees as much evidence of God, as I look at science and my rational thoughts and see no evidence.

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So, where do I go from here? I don't think I would be estranged from her or anything, she just said she still loves me but I KNOW she got off the phone and cried and prayed for my soul (I told her not to waste her breath). Just never bring it up again? I am curious as to how all of you have handled this

My mom broke out crying when I told her on the phone so if your mom had the restraint to wait until afterward I think you're doing well. I had a lot of "bad" discussions with my mom after the initial conversation. Eventually I stopped having "those" conversations. I still discuss religion, even the xian religion, but I won't discuss our particular beliefs. I try to keep things pretty much "academic." If anyone tries to go beyond that I just tell them I can't argue magic and leave it at that (I usually say nothing to my wife as well but tonight something came up and I mentioned waving a chicken foot around for all the good it would do but at least I'd know the foot was waved around then convinced her to drop the subject).

 

The point is I try to not say much but, as you can see from the comments I do make, I don't allow people to place their "beliefs" above my own (ie. they think it's real and I do not and supposedly both are valid view points). They want to pray (or whatever) then I'll compare it to something I find equally silly. They'll eventually stop because they don't like their precious thing compared to voodoo or whatever they find to be superstitious nonsense (though it's unlikely they'll actually spot the irony).

 

mwc

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One thing that really bothered me that I had a hard time refuting, and I know that there is just no changing her mind, is the whole "I KNOW Jesus is real, I have EXPERIENCED him".

 

This is also one I used to have trouble debunking, as it is a unverifiable "truth". However after a few years I found a way to deal with it that usually works out in your favor: and that is to point out to them that due to the doctrine of hell, this is a double standard. By claiming to have a personal experience that proves ones religion, they are evidently denying the personal experience of everyone who has had one that leads them to believe that a different faith is true. There are two problem with accepting this: first off, how do they know that they aren't the ones being decieved ? If they so readily claim that people of other faiths are being deceived by satan, they must either accept that:

 

A ) It is possible that they are being deceived as well, which kills their whole point.

 

OR

 

B ) that their ability to comprehend the reality of the metaphysical universe is somehow superior to that of other humans, which is a load of arrogant bullshit and special pleading.

 

While this doesn't mean much since all humans make this mistake outside religion ( almost everyone trusts their own reality more than the reality of other people ) because of the doctrine of hell, it becomes a textbook example of special pleading. By claiming their own religion is true by an unverifiable claim, in order to stay within the bounds of reason they must also accept all other claims to the supernatural as unverifiable. And by sticking with this unverifiable claim while at the same time claiming other people who don't agree with it deserve an eternity in hell, then the entire idea of justice collapses. If people are to be punished based on unverifiable data, then they might as well be punished based on anything. In fact, the method of selecting who goes to hell and heaven might as well be a random lottery. The entire Christian philosophy behind morality becomes a pointless endeavour. It is rendered moot.

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One thing though....could she turn this back on me, and say just because I haven't "experienced" God, see no "evidence", would I be wrong in saying he doesn't exist...not sure how I would answer this in the heat of the moment. In her deluded mind, she sees as much evidence of God, as I look at science and my rational thoughts and see no evidence.
You can't prove that there are no microscopic teapots orbiting the rings of Saturn either, but she would likely find it ridiculous to believe in them. Just because you can't prove a negative doesn't mean the assertive claim is probable.
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I'm a mom and I'm trying to understand how it might feel to her to hear that her daughter has left the faith she so faithfully led her to. If you can put it in just human terms and understand that she loves you and in her mind wants the best, it helps a little. I have found that when I continue to love my family and show them in just simple terms how I am the same (actually I am much better!) since leaving the faith, they kind of stop making it an issue. HOnestly, I haven't told my mom and am not sure if/ when I will. She lives 850 miles away, so it's not an issue at this point. When I was in my 20's I left the faith my mom raised me in (RLDS/small offshoot of mormonism) and felt like it was up to me to "prove" how wrong that religion was. Well, I succeeded in dividing the family, and causing much tension. My mom did eventually follow me out, (and right on into christianity) but the heartache caused by all the bickering was hardly worth it. I wish now that I hadn't made everything such an issue. I'm learning, finally, that to live and let live is a gift we should all seek.

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Guest Abby84

I really admire your courage, it adds a little to my own courage collection. I'm not too sure how my mother would react, I'm sure there will be crying and her going on about where she went wrong.

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I told my father about a month ago, and I was surprised how quickly things went back to normal, although I haven't seen either parent in person since then.

 

My father is sad but accepting, but my mother is in denial. She refuses to admit that I'm no longer a Christian, and describes me as simply "not walking with god right now", in other words, a backslider.

 

I agree with joD that trying to prove how wrong religion is will not help your family. Just as it's wrong for Christians to try to push and pressure you into religion, it's wrong for you to try to push and pressure anyone else into disbelief. It's not a matter of rightness, but of respecting other people's personal boundaries. I definitely don't think it's wrong for you to ask her to consider where you're coming from and to understand you better, but OTOH, don't ask someone else to do something that you would resent if your roles were reversed.

 

My feeling now is that I was honest about my non-Christianity, and it's now in my parents' power to decide whether they want to ask anything more.

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At least you were able to come clean with her. I couldn't stand even the few months of long-distance deceit I felt with our families before we told them about our deconversion.

 

And for those of you waiting in dread for the day you, "out" yourself to friends and family - just keep in mind, the outcome might not be as bad as you expect. Granted, the way my own parents reacted was even worse than I'd anticipated, but my mom is also rather wacko. We fully expected my MIL to call up us bawling after our letter, though, and she didn't. In fact, except for one brief, tearful mention several weeks later of the fact that she's praying for god to change our hearts, she's stayed silent on the subject. And she's continued to be accepting and loving towards us.

 

As for the, "experiential" argument, there really is no effective counter-argument. Someone who wants desperately to be convinced of the validity of their faith is going to find a way to believe, no matter what anyone says to the contrary. That's why I find it completely pointless to argue with apologists - by definition, an apologist is trying to defend their current belief, not learn anything new. Therefore any opposing argument, no matter how speechless it may leave them, will not change their mind. We even had one sweet christian friend who said she, "didn't worry about contradictions in bible," because she KNEW from experience that god was real. Um, if the validity of the bible doesn't matter, how do you know which god(s) you've experienced? And if experience is the point on which every Christian's belief in god truly hinges, why even have apologists who try to prove the, "nuts and bolts" of their beliefs at all?

 

If anyone voiced an expectation that I should believe in jeezus again based on experiential, "evidence," I think I'd tell them that if that is the basis of their belief, they shouldn't expect me to believe, because I haven't experienced anything which has persuaded me that any god is real. Of course, then they'll start praying, like I used to do as a fundy, that god will, "show himself" to me. Oh, well. :shrug:

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