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Convo With Mom


godlessgrrl
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Whoa. Okay. So a bit ago I got off the phone with my mom. Y'know, my fundamentalist Xian mom... the one who quit being an alcoholic years ago because she found Jeebus. The one I went to Bible study with. The one I got baptized with. The one I totally went to Hal Lindsey lectures (!) and Walter Martin lectures (!) and Billy Graham crusades (!) with.

 

You know. That mom.

 

We talked about all sorts of things. It was sort of an unexpected conversation - I was calling her to check on family news, like we do sometimes. I've had a really mixed relationship with my mom over the years, a lot of animosity when I was younger, less so as we've both aged... I don't describe our relationship as close. But for some reason this was a really friendly, honest conversation, about a lot of stuff I didn't really expect to talk about.

 

One of the topics we touched on was religion.

 

Weird bit is: I get the serious impression that I'm not the only one whose religious POV has changed over the years.

 

In fact I get the serious impression that mom is more an agnostic than anything else, anymore. Maybe still some vaguely Xian-flavored stuff in there, but if anything she sounds like an agnostic Deist.

 

:blink:

 

My mind is sufficiently blown for the week. I think I will go drink beer now. :beer:

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Like some people I'm close to, their religious and metaphysical experience will often swing back and forth. On a positive note, though, it may be that your mom has done some thinking about things; perhaps has even warmed up to your point of view, or realized that she may have overplayed her passion for Christian orthodoxy a little too hard.

 

One relative of mine drifts between agnostic and believer. Sometimes we talk about religion and such, and he agrees with many of my ideas. There are times where he even seems to be coming across as totally critical of any Christian orthodoxy. However, at other times, he will berate me a little, and defend certain Christian notions. I have to be a little careful sometimes, since he has many business friends who are Xtian conservatives.

 

I've noticed that some people I know will lean to agnostic or almost atheist, but many of them still kind of like to reserve that "maybe" card at the bottom of the deck.

 

It's interesting.

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Speaking of people swinging back and forth, it seems to me people are more religiously zealous when:

 

1) they come to it as emotional teens in need of a group to glom into

 

2) they have young offspring

 

Phanta

 

 

So true..

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You yourself, as a nonbeliever that she loves very much, are a strong argument against fundamentalism.

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Glad you had a nice conversation - it's great when you can hang up and actually smile rather than wish you could reach through the line and stranglewicked.gif

 

 

I'd just be cautious with the religion thing though - I was having similar conversations with my mom and once I think she realized I wasn't christian at all, $*it hit the fan. She can't stand any church, but still holds to her fundy beliefs where it suits her.

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Glad you had a nice conversation - it's great when you can hang up and actually smile rather than wish you could reach through the line and stranglewicked.gif

 

 

I'd just be cautious with the religion thing though - I was having similar conversations with my mom and once I think she realized I wasn't christian at all, $*it hit the fan. She can't stand any church, but still holds to her fundy beliefs where it suits her.

 

Good warning. They can be conveniently capricious at the most inopportune times.

 

Anyway... I suggest you cautiously nuture and support her move to a more reasonable religion.

 

My brother brings over bottles of wine these days but I don't take that to mean he has abandoned the foaming at the mouth baptist claptrap but that he is trying to appear more reasonable to "the world"(that would be me and "my kind"). I still don't know whether his girlfriend (different cities) knows that he imbibes in moderation. Really now... phrases like "To thine own self be true..." have no resonance with xtians. None!

 

Anyway Gwen... that's great news and I genuinely hope that it draws you closer together.

 

Mongo

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My brother brings over bottles of wine these days but I don't take that to mean he has abandoned the foaming at the mouth baptist claptrap but that he is trying to appear more reasonable to "the world"(that would be me and "my kind"). I still don't know whether his girlfriend (different cities) knows that he imbibes in moderation. Really now... phrases like "To thine own self be true..." have no resonance with xtians. None!

 

Anyway Gwen... that's great news and I genuinely hope that it draws you closer together.

 

Mongo

There's an old joke here: If you invite a Baptist to your house, you will spend a lot of money on liquor. If you invite two, you won't spend a dime on liquor.

 

Or something like that.

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Boy, I wish I could say the same about my mom. My dad (who was born Lutheran) seems to be at that "spiritual but not religious" plateau; we can both agree that Christianity is bullshit, but he still seems to believe in God on his own terms. Mom (born Catholic) believes in God because she was told to. Really. She's that kind of empty-headed believer who really has no other reason other than "you should believe in something." She basically insinuates athiests are horrible people, then when I ask her if she's calling me some sort of terrible, inhuman creature, she claims she's not. It's like a brick wall meeting my head.

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Thanks guys. :)

 

For the record, she knows I'm an atheist. Stuff like that always comes out at some point, just given how I tend to be - I have a hard time hiding it and would rather it were out on the table anyway. Thus far my mom's pattern when I've changed religions is to express some shock initially, then a certain resistance to talking about it, then eventually she sort of comes to me and asks all about it. Then it's an "agree to disagree" thing.

 

I'm actually very, very lucky that way. It certainly causes ripples in the family relations when something like this happens, but nobody really flips out or disowns anyone or gets abusive, the way that some families do. The divisions between myself and my mom are present, but they aren't about religion, they're about other issues.

 

It could really be so much worse.

 

My whole relationship with my mom is weird though, so maybe it wasn't unexpected. Who knows.

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Hey, my ex-wife, who was 110% obsessed in Pentecostalism for over 20 years, is now a belly dancer. Anything can happen.

 

Rob

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I think my head would explode if I found out my mother was not a Christian. She's been a Christian her entire life, and a fundy at that.

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My folks have drifted pretty far away from the meme for the last few years. They have known I'm an Atheist since soon after 9/11, but I hadn't attended church with them since I after I was confirmed at 15 (I'm 32 now). I complained about that church/school on an almost daily basis as a kid, and was ignored. After I came out, I think they thought it was the fault of a few of my teachers that I complained about the most.

 

But a few years ago my mom (who was a preschool teacher and department head there for 25 years) discovered she was being grossly underpaid. In fact, people she had hired were being paid more than her. She went to her superiors, asked not just fro a raise, but to compensate her for other years, and they refused it all. Basically said, sorry, this is what your worth. So she quit, and they have not been back to that church since. Keep in mind both their kids were educated there, and they were members for almost 30 years, and they just said "fuck you" to my parents.

 

Now, one of the things I bitched the most about that place was their preoccupation with money. All I ever heard from them is how they are about to go under, they need funds, blah blah blah. Perhaps my rants finally came into focus for her, but they do not even go to church for xmas/easter anymore, and they have made absolutely no effort to find a new church, which makes me SO happy.

 

I would love to think that I had something to do with them shedding the chains, but in reality, I tried so hard to get them to see it is all bullshit for years and years, with nothing. But when they were fucked with on a personal level, I think the blinders fell off. They still do not discuss religion with me, I assume they still consider themselves xtian, but the fact remains they have also mellowed out considerably in their attitudes towards gays, etc. IOW, my parents are both very different than the folks who raised me and my sister, and I attribute most of that to leaving the church.

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It's interesting that you comment that your folks have mellowed out, Marty. I think the same is true of mine. In some ways they're still the same people they were when I was a kid, but there seem to be a lot of things that have changed for them too, as time has passed. They've aged, their children have grown up, they've got grandchildren now, they take care of aging relatives... I have to wonder if there's something about the very obvious passage of time and the impact it's been having on the entire family (both as individuals and as a collective) that has sort of made them a bit more sober or laid back or something.

 

When I was on the phone with mom she made some comment about hoping for a beautiful afterlife; I don't remember quite what she said exactly. But I do remember replying that while hope for a beautiful afterlife is a nice wish to have, the short life we have now is all the more valuable simply because it's all we really know we have. That seemed to make her think. I don't think she'd thought about it that way before.

 

Maybe getting closer to her own end has given her a different perspective about things.

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