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Ugh, After Years Of Avoiding Religious Conversations With Family...


AKR
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I got into a long one with my mother, and I didn't really want to. She's a fundy Christian. I haven't bothered to get into a discussion with her for years because I know exactly what's going to happen. She's not going to convince me, I'm not going to convince her, and she's just going to be torn up, thinking about me going to hell.

 

So anyways, we were talking about something else, and I mentioned how I appreciate that even though she's religious, she doesn't push me to do things because of her religion. Well, she asked me what I consider to be a religion (her deal is that Christianity is not a religion - it's a "personal relationship with Jesus" ), and that started it all off.

 

Anyways, she went through the standard arguments, and seeing as how I discuss this stuff almost every day, I had my answers ready before she even finished the first sentence of each argument. Surprisingly, I think I got to her about some things. She would say, "yeah, I can see what you mean" sometimes, which is really surprising coming from my mom. I basically obliterated everything she threw at me and think she knew it for the most part. I had never gotten into such a detailed discussion with her, so I don't think she really understood where exactly I was with religion and why.

 

I could see her tearing up toward the middle of our conversation, and that's mostly why I didn't want to even have it, because she believes in hell. I tried to get her to understand how the concept of a loving god who never shows himself to people who genuinely wanted to know him but tortures people anyway is a nonsensical idea. I think she's truly confused as to why god doesn't speak to me, because she knows I'm a genuine person who actually tried to speak with god for years. I think she's really torn up inside over her religion. She expressed how she's had times where she's had doubt and anger, and I don't think she's ever looked at her religion the way I made her look at it today. I think she's in serious conflict, because on one hand, she really wants to believe. She wants to see her family again and live forever in heaven, along with having all of the other benefits of Christianity. On the other hand, I think she sees some of the points I've made, and she doesn't want to believe that her god would torture her son for an eternity. I don't think she'll ever be at peace and it's all because of this screwed up religion.

 

So, anyways, a few days go by, and then I drop by my parents house and my dad gives me this box full of Christian books, cd's, tracts (holy shit, have you seen the new tracts? They are really screwed up and deserve their own thread.) from my sister. I knew my mom had talked to my sister about it, because any time one of them talks to me about Christianity, they have a little meeting and tell the other. Yet another reason why I tend to avoid the topic.

 

So, with all of the material, my sister had written a letter, and apparently, my mom must have misunderstood something I said because my sister was like, "Oh, I understand what it's like to feel hopeless and depressed!" Wait, what?

 

Her exact words: "I have spent years empty & desolate, my life void of any meaning or hope...I understand the emptiness, hopelessness, helplessness, and pain." Um, yeah, that's probably because you're Bipolar (I'm not going to say that to her, but she is).

 

So, I dropped the books/cd's back over at my parent's house and left a letter for my mom to read and then pass on to my sister with her stuff.

 

 

Dear *****, I appreciate all the gifts you gave ***** and I, however, I am no longer searching for any truth in Christianity. Although I still discuss religion quite often online, and ask them many questions while being open to changing my mind if someone happens to explain something in a logical way, it's more for the sake of getting people to realize how wrong Christianity is.

 

 

I don't know what mom told you, but I believe she got the wrong impression of the conversation we had the other day. Although I said it would be nice to believe in a loving god who gives us an eternal life, and that it's not easy to deal with the idea of everyone I love dying off and being no more, I am not empty or depressed. The point of me saying that was to show that I am not denying Christianity because I don't want a reality like that, and that accepting reality as I believe it to be is not always easy.

 

 

Fear of death or fear of not seeing someone again after they day is an illogical fear. If you die and cease to exist, it's not like you'll be around thinking how horrible it is. If someone you love dies, either way, you wouldn't even get a chance to see them until after you're dead anyway, so if you simply cease to exist, you won't care that you won't get to see them. There are a number of other negative things in this life though that are quite logical to be bothered by, but that's life. I acknowledge those things exist, but they don't run my life. I don't sit around depressed and hopeless; I wouldn't have gotten as far as I have building a house on my own if that was the case. I do not feel that my life is pointless; I feel very much that I have self-appointed purposes in life and I have more than enough things to keep me busy until I'm dead. I am never bored, and plenty of us Atheists/Agnostics live happy, fulfilled lives.

 

 

Like I said, I have discussed this online quite a bit. I've talked to everyone from scientists to preachers; I've read C.S. Lewis books; I've heard today's most popular apologists and I feel that all of them are wrong and fail to make sense of Christianity. I don't search for truth in Christianity because I believe it contains many lies, contradictions, and illogical claims. It's not that I'm just unsure if the Christian god exists; I'm 99% sure he doesn't and there's no one who has given me any reason to believe otherwise. I am open to the idea of some god existing, but I find it highly unlikely that one does, and even more unlikely that it's a god who cares more about being worshpped and acknowledged than how you treat people. I could literally write a book on the problems I have with Christianity and I just may do that some day.

 

To put this in perspective, imagine you were were brought up in a Muslim home or a Mormon home, but as you got older, you realized that the religion was wrong. You'd spent years immersed in the religion and researched it for the longest time but realized that it made no sense. Your family would expect you to continue trying to find your "way back," but you'd see no point. I've given decades to researching Christianity, giving it many chances, and that's enough. It deserves no more of my time just as you feel that other religions deserve none of your time even though you probably haven't spent even 1% of your life researching them. You've most likely shrugged off other religions without much thought, and yet, you expect someone to spend their entire life banging their head up against a wall for your particular religion when they have already come to the same conclusion about your religion as you have come to about theirs.

 

So, again, I appreciate that you care about me and are trying to help, but really, I'm done reading apologistic material and don't want to have any long discussions/debates with family members. I had actually purposely avoided conversations about religion with mom for the past few years because it just hurts her more than anything, and I think more pain and worry would be the only outcome were we to have more discussions.

 

 

 

 

As a side note, I posted this same story over on another forum that has a mixture of Atheist/religious people, and almost all of the religious people that commented were shitting themselves, attacking me, as if I was trying to destroy my mother's religious beliefs, even though I made it very clear that I didn't even want to have the conversation because I knew it'd worry her more. But hey, we all know how most Christians like to demonize others and make all Christians out to be martyrs.

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That was an excellent response you gave.

 

I have tried, to no avail, to convince people I don't want to convert them, but only want them to understand my position - and respect it.

 

By virtue of just being faithful Christians, they hear only what they want, so it probable matters little what you say, but you can be content in that you did all you could do.

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That was an excellent response you gave.

 

I have tried, to no avail, to convince people I don't want to convert them, but only want them to understand my position - and respect it.

 

By virtue of just being faithful Christians, they hear only what they want, so it probable matters little what you say, but you can be content in that you did all you could do.

 

 

Thanks; Christians have a habit of seeing it as their religion or nothing at all. They don't even think about the hundreds of other religions they haven't given one minute to and I hope by pointing that out to them, I might be able to get just a small sliver of understanding from them as to why I am not going to devote the rest of my life trying to put what appears to be a circle into a square hole.

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That was a truly excellent response you wrote. :) *stealing some of your points*

 

I've pretty much given up on trying to ever discuss religion with old friends and family. Even the question of "Why do you believe in God?" makes them flip out. "I don't have to justify my faith to you!" Then I say, "I think I should be able to justify everything I say, do, and believe" and they get all quiet...

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Enjoyed reading about your exchange with your family...sounds typical of many Christians. Thought you handled it very well.

 

Deb

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As a side note, I posted this same story over on another forum that has a mixture of Atheist/religious people, and almost all of the religious people that commented were shitting themselves, attacking me, as if I was trying to destroy my mother's religious beliefs, even though I made it very clear that I didn't even want to have the conversation because I knew it'd worry her more. But hey, we all know how most Christians like to demonize others and make all Christians out to be martyrs.

 

Very well thought out letter, I must commend you in your efforts to keep peace within the family. I hope your sister doesn't see this as an attack on their belief system. Judging by the christbot responses from the forum you frequent I would expect some emotional driven flak from your sister. It's funny how christians always talk about a "personal relationship with jesus" yet unlike the rest of us who no longer believe in that tripe they can't keep it to themselves. They have to share their delusion in the group mind fuck. As FlorDuh intimated, christians think you are trying to sell them something when you ever bring up reasons for your non-belief in the sky daddy. Like you are satan's evangelist or something!

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As a side note, I posted this same story over on another forum that has a mixture of Atheist/religious people, and almost all of the religious people that commented were shitting themselves, attacking me, as if I was trying to destroy my mother's religious beliefs, even though I made it very clear that I didn't even want to have the conversation because I knew it'd worry her more. But hey, we all know how most Christians like to demonize others and make all Christians out to be martyrs.

When the deal is convert or be converted then that's all you'll ever know. So you can never have atheists giving an equal view because they're really "converting" you. You can never have gays giving an equal view because they're really "converting" you. And on down the line. You know that's how it works. That's why all of us here have gone from straight xians to gay atheists (deny it all you like people...it's either/or).

 

mwc

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I love your letter in response. You genuinely showed respect, while stating your position. What more could anyone ask for? I'm impressed!

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Thanks for the comments, everyone. Sorry it's taken me a few days to get back to my thread; I just went through virus hell, but conquered it through prayer! Ok, maybe it was an anti-virus program. I got a response from my mom. It made me laugh because it was an expression of appreciate for the exact opposite of what other people (even some Atheists) have told me to do in this situation. Her note:

 

 

"I appreciate your honesty and kindly worded letter. I would rather you were genuine instead of putting on a religious facade as many people do. I am sorry that I have not provided you with the intellectual input that you seem to desire. However, I do not think you have exhausted the many writings that are available these days by brilliant intellectual believers. I wish you the best as you seek for truth and belief that your mind can accept as well as your heart. Love always, Mom."

 

Of course, she still feels that I should "exhaust" the apologetic literature, even though I pointed out that she doesn't exhaust the apologetic literature of other religions. No surprise there, really. I go over to their house quite often during the day while they're gone because I have no running water in my house I'm building. I have noticed 3 new books pop up around the house, all on the subject of dealing with non-believers. I'm not sure if they're for me, in case I read them while I'm in the bathrooms, or for her to read...and eventually try to use on me. I think she'll be pretty respectful, and if the most I have to deal with is a book on the shelf in the bathrooms, I'm doing pretty good. I browse through them though when I'm in there because I just can't help myself. It's the same old arguments repackaged to sell to the next generation. Same old bullshit, new covers.

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