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Epic Letter To Fundamentalist Xtian Grandmother. Feedback, Please!


Guest josh_sullivan
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Guest josh_sullivan

A couple of months ago I got 33 page letter in the mail from my christian grandmother. My parents had apparently told her that I am no longer a Christian (I grew up Southern Baptist). She wrote me an epic letter with a dismissal of evolution on theological grounds and trying to scare me back into the fold by talking about how powerful Satan is. Well, I decided to take the time to respond, so I sat down and typed and typed. I finished the letter this afternoon.

 

I'd like to draw upon the wide breadth of knowledge and experience from my fellow ex-christians. Will you please read my letter to my grandmother before I put it in the mail? I'm interested, of course, in all possible feedback and criticism.

 

I put the letter on my personal web server as a pdf. You can read it here:

 

http://dipperstove.com/letter.pdf

 

Thanks so much!

Josh Sullivan

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Damn! That's quite a letter.

 

I would have just written, "I'm fine, thanks. How's your cat?"

 

Welcome to the site, Josh.

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Guest josh_sullivan

Ha! I was tempted to do just that. At the very least I can draw from this letter for years to come when people ask me why I'm not a christian.

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Draw from it hell! You should publish it.

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Guest josh_sullivan

Unless she has at least a Bachelors Degree or higher...that letter will go over her head. You could make her feel as if you are belittling her. Remember, she is your grandmother and unless you really dislike her, you could hurt her without meaning to.

 

Aside from that, ...it is one hell of a letter and I agree with Florduh, I WOULD PUBLISH THE DAMNED THING!!!.... :eek:

 

She has a Masters degree in Biology, which is perplexing since she adamantly denies evolution. The thought of publishing it has crossed my mind. Problem is, I wouldn't know where to start.

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Impressive. Very impressive.

 

 

I had a feeling she was educated.

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I confess I skipped over many of the fact laden spots. I was more interested in the emotional overtones.

 

Well done Josh. Well done.

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Well, WOW!

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This paragraph I find to be the best part. You are challenging her to look at her religion from another's point of view. Now that I have deconverted, I can do that. And Christianity seems silly to a person of another religion.

 

"Do you entertain the claims made by Mormons or Muslims or Moonies? You do not. Because

there is no reason to. When you (rightly) ignore the empty claims made by other religions it is

because they do not pass through the filters of reason set up by your prefrontal cortex. Of course,

these other religions make the same exception you do about their inability to give evidence for

their claims. You must, they say, on faith accept that Mohammad ascended into the sky on a

winged horse, or that Native Americans are descendants of Israel or that Sun Myung Moon is the

Messiah. Unsurprisingly, you don’t accept these absurd claims. And you shouldn’t. But consider

for a moment the claims made by Christianity in light of the same standard you set for evaluating

the claims made by other religions."

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33 pages? That's crazy. I have my doubts she will read anything you send her (haven't read your response yet). I'm guessing she just likes to hear herself talk. Should have just sent her Polaroids of you burning her letter and a Bible.

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Wow that was excellent! You couldn't have done better, in my opinion. While you didn't attack her beliefs, you did stand up for yours and firmly show her that you have a lot of basis for your decision. Also I think you should put this on a blog somewhere (or publish it, of course) for others to refer to. I think you will definitely be able to use it in discussions with believers again.

 

Bravo!

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Wow, you're right, that is an epic letter. Very well explained and gracious points. I hope it is well received. I liked how you layed out the "only a theory" material. It is hard to get past stuff like that in speaking with Christians. Also good use of footnotes including the Christian authors as well. If only religious discussions could accept wisdom as you quoted from Augustine, rather than denigrating it as merely human wisdom.

 

It is hard to explain to Christians what you mean by being open to having your views changed as you discuss in your conclusion. For when I say I am open to changing my beliefs I have to add the disclaimer that I don't think I could ever have the same version of my faith I once had. But if Christians want you to return to sincere faith, even if it is not their current state of faith or the version of faith you once held, hopefully there can be some real dialog.

 

Hope you are able to post sometime soon about how things went. Good luck!

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I don't post a whole lot on here....mostly just read but I admired the love and respect you showed her while at the same time defending you newfound truth. It is very important to hold on to this relationship with your grandmother no matter how foolish her beliefs might be. She obviously loves you as much as you love her. Again, it was very kind of you to express things in a way that showed so much love for her. Very nice. Even though we've all experienced pain in our past religious experiences I do not believe it is healthy or wise to STAY angry. It's good and healing for a while to experience the anger but then for our own health in every way we need to move on and do our best to hold on to those relationships that are important. We can't help those who reject us for our life's choices but we shouldn't be just as guilty and shun those who remain in religion who still want us in their lives and who love us. This is something that I've learned.

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At a glance it looks great. I printed it out to read later when I have some more time. I need to get my ass outside and mow the yard.

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Maybe we can get this floating around the atheist blogosphere, if we have your permission...perhaps someone with experience can help with the possibility of publishing it, or would add it into a collection of such stuff that is being published.

 

Edit: Ah, I see that you posted it on reddit and purchased a domain. If we get PZ Myers, Jerry Coyne, Hemant Mehta etc. on board and maybe the big dogs like Dawkins and Harris will see it.

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Guest josh_sullivan

Maybe we can get this floating around the atheist blogosphere, if we have your permission...perhaps someone with experience can help with the possibility of publishing it, or would add it into a collection of such stuff that is being published.

 

Edit: Ah, I see that you posted it on reddit and purchased a domain. If we get PZ Myers, Jerry Coyne, Hemant Mehta etc. on board and maybe the big dogs like Dawkins and Harris will see it.

 

Yeah I'm down with that idea. It'll be interesting to see where this thing ends up.

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OK, I finally got around to reading your letter and most of the footnotes, and I have to say that you've done a very good job of laying out your arguments and backing up your claims. I agree with the others that it's worthy of publishing (without the references to your grandmother, of course), especially if expanded.

 

There is one sentence that I think needs reworded, though. On page 11 you say, "The compelling untruth within this meme is that facts actually do count." The way that is worded is basically saying "that facts actually do count" is an "untruth." I think the idea you were trying to convey is that the meme in the preceding quote is an untruth because facts actually do count, but that's not quite the way the sentence comes across as it is currently worded.

 

Another minor thing is that in note 52 a space needs to be added between the words "little phenomenon."

 

I do think you've done a very fine job with this letter, though. Props to you.

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She has a Masters degree in Biology, which is perplexing since she adamantly denies evolution. The thought of publishing it has crossed my mind. Problem is, I wouldn't know where to start.

 

A publishing option you might want to consider, is an online vanity press like Lulu.com or Createspace.

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I put the letter on my personal web server as a pdf. You can read it here:

 

Instead of Letter To A Christian Nation, you could publish Letter To A Christian Grandma.
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I have put my beliefs on the table, subject to a fair look. This is

where that look has taken me. More importantly, my beliefs

remain on the table, always subject to criticism and re-evaluation.

Join me in this task. Let’s put our beliefs on the table. Let’s

compare, contrast, and use the lamplight of reason to honestly

evaluate the substance and the evidence holding up our beliefs.

St. Augustine said, “all truth is God’s truth”. This statement and

others like it enabled me to get past the fear of looking in to those

nagging doubts over the years, to face the probability that some

of my beliefs were invalid, and to leave behind those beliefs that

just don’t stand up.

 

This paragraph really stood out for me. I sincerely hope we can all reach the day when we can lay our collective beliefs on the table for evaluation with reason in the quest for truth(s).

 

Excellently written.

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Guest josh_sullivan

Hi everyone,

 

thanks so much for the feedback. I'm sticking my letter in an envelope and sending it Texas-bound to my grandmother first thing tomorrow morning. I'll post an update as soon as I get a response from her.

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