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Well, I've been thinking that this will probably be the year I come out as a nonbeliever to my family, even though the prospect seems a little scary. Anyway, here's something that went down today.

 

I forwarded an email that had this link to before and after pictures of Japan's devastation:

 

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/03/13/world/asia/satellite-photos-japan-before-and-after-tsunami.html

 

Later I got a reply from my mother that started like this:

 

Isn't that horrible! Can't imagine what those people are going through. Did you know that the earthquake moved Japan about 3' or something like that? I don't know how they measured to know that, but that was the 5th strongest earthquake on record. Wonder if there were any worse than that before they started keeping records. Or if this is a sign of the end of times coming closer & closer. I sure feel sorry for those people, even if they do worship strange gods.

 

After that she went on to talk about some family things, nothing major. This is how I responded to that part:

 

I had heard that Japan's coastline moved about 8 feet. At any rate, it is quite awful. If I was a survivor there, I think I'd be moving to another country asap.

 

Many Japanese are Buddhists. Though Buddhism is classified as a religion, it is more like a philosophy than a regular religion. Standard Buddhism doesn't actually have a god, so it would be incorrect to say that they worship strange gods. Besides, to me it's more important to have empathy for them in their crisis than to haggle over worldviews. Most people simply believe what they were told to believe in the environment they grew up in anyway, and then they obsess over how others' beliefs seem "strange" to them. It's basically a matter of culture.

 

I avoided the silly "end of times" comment and the rest of what I said pertained to family stuff, but I'm curious how my mother will respond to me pointing out that religious views are largely based on demographics. Though I didn't specifically express it, I think that it will probably be quite obvious that this was not written from the perspective of one believing that christianity is absolute truth. I'm curious how she'll respond.

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Well, I've been thinking that this will probably be the year I come out as a nonbeliever to my family, even though the prospect seems a little scary. Anyway, here's something that went down today.

 

I forwarded an email that had this link to before and after pictures of Japan's devastation:

 

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/03/13/world/asia/satellite-photos-japan-before-and-after-tsunami.html

 

Later I got a reply from my mother that started like this:

 

Isn't that horrible! Can't imagine what those people are going through. Did you know that the earthquake moved Japan about 3' or something like that? I don't know how they measured to know that, but that was the 5th strongest earthquake on record. Wonder if there were any worse than that before they started keeping records. Or if this is a sign of the end of times coming closer & closer. I sure feel sorry for those people, even if they do worship strange gods.

 

After that she went on to talk about some family things, nothing major. This is how I responded to that part:

 

I had heard that Japan's coastline moved about 8 feet. At any rate, it is quite awful. If I was a survivor there, I think I'd be moving to another country asap.

 

Many Japanese are Buddhists. Though Buddhism is classified as a religion, it is more like a philosophy than a regular religion. Standard Buddhism doesn't actually have a god, so it would be incorrect to say that they worship strange gods. Besides, to me it's more important to have empathy for them in their crisis than to haggle over worldviews. Most people simply believe what they were told to believe in the environment they grew up in anyway, and then they obsess over how others' beliefs seem "strange" to them. It's basically a matter of culture.

 

I avoided the silly "end of times" comment and the rest of what I said pertained to family stuff, but I'm curious how my mother will respond to me pointing out that religious views are largely based on demographics. Though I didn't specifically express it, I think that it will probably be quite obvious that this was not written from the perspective of one believing that christianity is absolute truth. I'm curious how she'll respond.

 

 

It sounds like you just want to tell her that your religious views have changed. If I were you (which I am not) I would just state clearly and simply that you no longer hold the same beliefs that she does. Otherwise, you will tie yourself up in mental knots wondering if she grasped the subtleties of your email.

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From what you've written here, it seems you came down a bit hard on what is generally a common comment by christians ("must be the end times", etc). But I guess as George said, you're trying to find a way to tell your mum you're no longer a believer.

 

In my experience, many japanese treat christianity as some kind of weird western novelty.

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Actually I didn't even address the "end times" comment. In retrospect, I do think I should have acknowledged her sympathetic statements. I just get tired of christians always making an issue out of other religious views. My mother is a good person, though, and usually pretty reasonable, so a discussion with her could be productive. My real concern is my father, who has an "I'm right and you're wrong" attitude most of the time.

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Actually I didn't even address the "end times" comment. In retrospect, I do think I should have acknowledged her sympathetic statements. I just get tired of christians always making an issue out of other religious views. My mother is a good person, though, and usually pretty reasonable, so a discussion with her could be productive. My real concern is my father, who has an "I'm right and you're wrong" attitude most of the time.

 

Oh- I don't think it was so bad. If it is passively aggressive at all that is because you have spent so much time stuffing your thoughts and feelings. But really, I think you spoke to her just as you would speak to any person on any subject. It wasn't unkind- and if she is upset just let her know that you were only sharing ideas.

 

I really don't think it was a big deal. If it seems like one, it is because christians aren't used to being challenged and tend to see it as aggression when we say that we do not accept their ideas.

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It's funny, but if you think about it, wouldn't god use natural disasters to target areas that are predominately christian? After all, they supposedly get to go straight to heaven when they die. When heathens die, their chance to hear "gods word" is cut short.

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In my experience, many japanese treat christianity as some kind of weird western novelty.

 

I used to know some fundies from Japan. They weren't dumb hicks either, they were cosmopolitans from Tokyo. One of them was practically a runway model, just breathtaking. Well, as you can imagine, they were total anomalies, but there is a teeny tiny evangelical presence there, just like there is in Italy, the Czech Republic, etc. So tiny and marginal and harmless as to be no more than a scarcely noticed curiosity at the most. If only we could be so lucky.

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In my experience, many japanese treat christianity as some kind of weird western novelty.

 

I used to know some fundies from Japan. They weren't dumb hicks either, they were cosmopolitans from Tokyo. One of them was practically a runway model, just breathtaking. Well, as you can imagine, they were total anomalies, but there is a teeny tiny evangelical presence there, just like there is in Italy, the Czech Republic, etc. So tiny and marginal and harmless as to be no more than a scarcely noticed curiosity at the most. If only we could be so lucky.

 

Yeah, it seems the quite intelligent ones seem to be lured the most into cults. I remember watching a documentary on the serin gas attacks in Japan and the cult responsible for it was consisted of some very smart people apparently.

 

I know a couple missionaries there in Japan and I'd say there combined membership would be less than a hundred. The largest church I'm aware of there (that's affiliated somewhat with the circle of churches I attended) is an American military church.

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