Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
electech98

An Email From The Father-In-Law

Recommended Posts

Your post sure hit a nerve. What a horrible position your father-in- law has put you in. How unfair and cruel. But he's so fanatical that he thinks he's trying to help you. I have a brother just like him. But a brother is one thing; a father-in-law is another. He is so off base that it's disgusting.

 

He wants you to believe the way he does. Why? "Because the Bible says so." Here's my hypothetical dialogue between you and him:

 

What makes you think the Bible is the word of god?

"Because I've read it and prayed on it, etc. And it's worked for me. And it is. I'd stake my life on it."

I've read the Bible and prayed about it, too. For many years. It has not worked for me and I no longer believe it is the word of god.

"Well you are sinning directly against God and you will go to hell if you don't change."

On whose authority should I believe the Bible. Yours?

"No. God's ".

I'd gladly take God's word, but I haven't heard from him. I don't believe the Bible is god's word. Again, do you want me to take your word on that?

No. It's the Bible itself"

Why should I believe you that it's god's word?

" God will reveal that to you if you ask him to and pray and read the Bible."

I've done all of that and more for many years. I'll tell you what. If god reveals to me that the Bible is his word, I'll believe. But but I will not delegate to you or anyone else my decision of whether the Bible is god's word. I will not let any mere human make that decision for me. Did you take another human's word on this?

 

This is just me venting my frustration that I feel for you. In truth, you can't win an argument with someone who is insane. Fundamentalism is a kind of insanity. On the surface he makes it appear that he's trying to look after your interests. But, in fact, he's protecting his own security blanket. Avoid this fight if you can. Talk it over with your wife and see if you can convince her that

your spiritual life should be kept between you and her because otherwise treacherous waters will lie ahead. Good luck. bill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Keeping this site online isn't free, so we need your support! Make a one-time donation or choose one of the recurrent patron options by clicking here.



Jeremy - whew, I just finished reading this whole thread.  You have the patience of Job (as they say), who may or may not have ever existed!

 

You've done well, I don't think I'd change a thing with how you've conducted yourself.

 

Your FIL is a lost cause, but matters little anyway.  The main thing is keeping him away from your wife and kids - hopefully geography will take care of that, largely.

 

I'm concerned about your marriage, and thus your happiness.  You seem, like me, to be a great husband and father, and your family (immediate) is everything to you.  From what you've indicated, your wife is struggling with trying to be a good daughter, Christian, and wife; and these things are sometimes at odds with each other.  Continue to understand that as you have.   Because I get the idea that she loves you and is at least somewhat trying to understand where you're at in your lack of faith, and thus would possibly be open to reading something to help her understand what's in your head, I'd like to gently suggest that you ask her if she'd read some things - NOT with the objective that she rejects Christianity herself, but that she understand you better.   She may come away questioning her faith.   I'd like to see her read The Age of Reason, by Thomas Paine, and/or Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris.   Sam's book can be read in about an hour.  Paine's book, for me, is one of the first, and still the best, rejections of the Christian faith.  Sure, he writes as a Deist, but that's a hell of a lot better than a fundy Christian.  

 

For me, when I was a believer, realizing FIRST that the bible was not inerrant was the crack in the armour, and it all went downhill from there.   Did zombie's really walk the earth following the resurrection?  How come there no writing about this outside of the bible?  The Romans kept great notes, and surely this would be notable.   Did the end of the world come while those alive at the resurrection were still living, as stated in the bible would happen?  These and a few small things to chew on could possibly at least have your wife question things, which would help your life a lot.  If not, leave it at that, you never know how long these things can bounce around in one's head before they take effect, as most of us here on ex-c can attest.

 

It's been a while since you updated us, which is completely your right, but do know that we are here for you, and everyone wants what's best for you and your family.  Take care.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the best thing is indeed to completely ignore this man's unkind remarks. From what I've read he has no interest in you personally whatsoever, he just wants you to comply in order to enhance cohesion in the family and he is acting as a mindguard. This is very common behaviour in highly cohesive groups, like a fundamentalist congregation. Unfortunately, christians have given themselves all kinds of justifications to indulge in this (often destructive) form of behaviour.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the thoughts, everyone. I'm still here, kicking around and all that. 

 

I know my wife loves me very much (or maybe she feels obligated to love me? I don't know), but she will find every excuse in the book not to read just the one thing I asked her to read. "She's been way too busy to read books"...in the meanwhile, she's read several fiction books lent to her by friends in plain sight of me. She's used that excuse on me twice already, I'm surprised she thinks she can keep pulling it off. I'm just going to start calling on her bull. 

 

In the meanwhile, I really do like the idea of a third-party marriage counselor...and not anyone from her church. I'll hopefully broach the idea after the first of the year when all the holiday stuff dies down. We need to get more stuff out in the open, and we need a mediator to really sift through it, I think.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think this is a very good idea.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

......

In the meanwhile, I really do like the idea of a third-party marriage counselor...and not anyone from her church. I'll hopefully broach the idea after the first of the year when all the holiday stuff dies down. We need to get more stuff out in the open, and we need a mediator to really sift through it, I think.

 

Good plan. We are seeking a counselor too. I'll be "thinking" for you. LOL.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the thoughts, everyone. I'm still here, kicking around and all that. 

 

I know my wife loves me very much (or maybe she feels obligated to love me? I don't know), but she will find every excuse in the book not to read just the one thing I asked her to read. "She's been way too busy to read books"...in the meanwhile, she's read several fiction books lent to her by friends in plain sight of me. She's used that excuse on me twice already, I'm surprised she thinks she can keep pulling it off. I'm just going to start calling on her bull. 

 

In the meanwhile, I really do like the idea of a third-party marriage counselor...and not anyone from her church. I'll hopefully broach the idea after the first of the year when all the holiday stuff dies down. We need to get more stuff out in the open, and we need a mediator to really sift through it, I think.

I think I would leave Letter to a Christian Nation lying somewhere around the house, and not even mention anything to her.  She'll pick it up and read some of it eventually, and may not even tell you.   She sounds like my wife - if I make a suggestion, then it's never going to happen.  Has to be "her" idea.  Stubborn.   

 

The reason I persist in bringing up her reading something is that it can't not benefit you for her to doubt something, anything, about the fundamentalist christian faith.  Your marriage will be the better for it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good luck with all of this electech...

I hope the counseling will be beneficial.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wish I could be helpful here. I have no constructive response at all.

 

I have no idea how one would respond to this without being argumentative. The entire letter is a rebuke, telling you how sinful, selfish and wrong you are being, rather than doing what a pastor should do, which is address your concerns and do what he can to help you.

 

Sounds like typical "christian love" to me.

 

I suppose that a sincere "I'm sorry you feel that way" letter might be appropriate, although I'm sure it will not be received well. 

 

I always find it interesting how people try to use the bible, which an athiest does not believe in, to prove that they are right and you are wrong. Every time someone starts quoting me scripture, I start quoting them back Kermit the frog lines. As far as I'm concerned, they hold the same amount of water. No, I take that back. I think I probably learned a lot more valuable lessons from Kermit than I ever did from the bible. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kermit is the best!

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was too tired to read all the replies. I think I know enough to say: To hell with your father-in- law; talk with (not "to") your wife. She is undoubtedly under as  much pressure as you. Her whole life history is put to the test. Be patient with her and tell her your marriage takes top priority with you. After doing these things have an honest but tender discussion with her. No matter how this turns out, you want know that you have done your best to resolve this issue. There is no reason you and your wife cannot have a happy marriage 

despite these differences if you can come to an understanding whereby you can each be true to each other and to yourselves. (Please forgive me for the preacher tone that my comments have seemed to take on. They are just my suggestions; I have not received any inside information from god.) bill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One more email came in last night from my FIL. I think this will be the email I finally respond to, if only to remind him that I set a boundary down that he has continued to try to circumvent:
 

 

Hey Jeremy
 
I miss hearing from you, even though it wasn't that frequent once we moved from CA.  I continue to pray for you and wonder where you're really at in terms of your presuppositions these days.  So if you'd be willing to define those for me I'd be interested.
I myself am continuing to contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints and living in the only comfort of  belonging to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.
Hope to hear from you.
 
Love
 
Dad


I'm going to work on formulating a response over the day or so, but might say something like:

 

"Dear Dad,

 

I am responding to remind you of the boundary that I placed between you and me in May of 2012. That boundary made any discussion between you and me on issues of faith and religion off-limits. I had to set that boundary due to the argumentative and bullying tone displayed in your two emails in May of 2012. After my email that set the boundary in place, you have subsequently made several attempts to overstep that boundary by emailing me multiple times and sending me books that pertain to issues of faith and religion, all unsolicited. 

 

Because of the overstepping of the boundary, and because of the lack of attempt to address the content and tone of your two emails from May of 2012, the boundary I set still remains in place and is to be respected. Please do not send me any further communication or materials on matters that pertain to faith and religion. 

 

Thank you for attempting to get in touch with me. There may be other topics I would be open to discussing with you, but faith and religion are still off-limits between us.

 

Jeremy"

 

Any suggestions, comments, corrections would be welcome! :)

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That seems pretty damn perfect to me, electech.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would start and end with a "thank you," personally. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I assume your goal is the same that mine would be if I were in your shoes:: To get the bastard off your back. Therefore, tell him that you hear and understand him and you have prayed and prayed, Your praying has resulted in your making covenant with god that you will continue to pray to him until you get his answer. And that you will not give up until you receive that answer. Further, that this is such an important thing that you will not accept an answer from any fallible human, but only from god. That is because you want the answer from the only one in whom you have 100% confidence. The bible says that if we ask god for anything in christ's name it will be granted us. That is precisely what you are going to do.  

 

All's fair in love and war. In this matter, both love and war are involved. What's he gonna do, claim your lying to him? What righteous 

indifference you will then be able to demonstrate. Even if it doesn't work, you can have fun with it.  bill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ok,,

 

i would presume you would to like to be in contact with your FIL less the faith and god.

 

If that is the case, maybe you you can talk to him on other matters, like health, science, movies or whatever matters or interests to both of you.

 

However if there is only religion between you guys, I dont exactly see how the communication would continue.

 

thats just my thots,,,

 

maybe send him a porno link or something

 

cheers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I assume your goal is the same that mine would be if I were in your shoes:: To get the bastard off your back. Therefore, tell him that you hear and understand him and you have prayed and prayed, Your praying has resulted in your making covenant with god that you will continue to pray to him until you get his answer. And that you will not give up until you receive that answer. Further, that this is such an important thing that you well not accept an answer from any fallible human, but only from god. That is because you want the answer from the only one in whom you have 100% confidence. The bible says that if we ask god for anything in christ's name it will be granted us. That is precisely what you are going to do.  

 

All's fair in love and war. In this matter, both love and war are involved. What's he gonna do, claim your lying to him? What righteous 

indifference you will then be able to demonstrate. Even if it doesn't work, you can have fun with it.  bill

 

If he's anything like me, he wouldn't be able to swallow the dishonesty even if it gets him the result he's looking for.  It's an Achilles's heel for some of us. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Vigile is right...there's no way I could send him something that was obviously meant to be snarky or spiteful, even if in a playful tone. He would know I was trying to get his goat, so to speak. Although I HAVE been tempted to tell him that his belief in the total sovereignty of God means that God sovereignly made me an atheist. :D

 

Unfortunately there's not much to talk about with him besides religion because he is a pastor in the denomination I used to be a part of. Faith and religion is his life. His other interests lie in cars and photography and that's about it, neither of which I have any strong interest in. Our emails (before my deconverion) have always been related to religion or business (he owes us money) or about family stuff (pictures he's taken, etc.). He is the type of guy who is incredibly hard to have a conversation with if it doesn't have anything to do with religion, cars, or cameras.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One more email came in last night from my FIL. I think this will be the email I finally respond to, if only to remind him that I set a boundary down that he has continued to try to circumvent:

 

 

Hey Jeremy
 
I miss hearing from you, even though it wasn't that frequent once we moved from CA.  I continue to pray for you and wonder where you're really at in terms of your presuppositions these days.  So if you'd be willing to define those for me I'd be interested.
I myself am continuing to contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints and living in the only comfort of  belonging to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.
Hope to hear from you.
 
Love
 
Dad

 

I'm going to work on formulating a response over the day or so, but might say something like:

 

"Dear Dad,

 

I am responding to remind you of the boundary that I placed between you and me in May of 2012. That boundary made any discussion between you and me on issues of faith and religion off-limits. I had to set that boundary due to the argumentative and bullying tone displayed in your two emails in May of 2012. After my email that set the boundary in place, you have subsequently made several attempts to overstep that boundary by emailing me multiple times and sending me books that pertain to issues of faith and religion, all unsolicited. 

 

Because of the overstepping of the boundary, and because of the lack of attempt to address the content and tone of your two emails from May of 2012, the boundary I set still remains in place and is to be respected. Please do not send me any further communication or materials on matters that pertain to faith and religion. 

 

Thank you for attempting to get in touch with me. There may be other topics I would be open to discussing with you, but faith and religion are still off-limits between us.

 

Jeremy"

 

 

Any suggestions, comments, corrections would be welcome! smile.png

 

Very good.

 

If you give him zero personal-belief information he cannot precisely attack you. He is a bit off balance and needs information to proceed. What would happen if all your replies to his inquiries about your religious beliefs were met with something totally unrelated like, "So what kinda camera you using? I got this Olympus digital here and blah blah...." Just completely ignore his religious topic. That would be some fun stuff. :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent letter all the way around. You give him absolutely no foothold, and stand very securely upon your previous iteration of boundaries. That's the way to do it.

 

Wait wait wait back up here. HE OWES YOU MONEY. And yet he's acting like this to you.

 

Dude, that takes jackassery to whole new levels. Fuck him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, you know, it's because the most important thing to them is their faith and the need to have everyone else fall in line with it, over all other things and priorities. So, you know, tact flies out the window and any semblance of them really truly listening to someone who doesn't believe the same stuff is most likely just a charade.

 

At least he is still making monthly payments for the loan we gave him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yea, the only thing I think I'd add is just some sort of opening/invitation to other conversation, even if you don't think it'll go anywhere. Be the painfully nice guy. Otherwise, it looks great! Sounds all legal.

("If you would like to talk about absolutely anything else, I'd be more than happy to have a conversation with you. But religion is still off-limits"). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I completely agree. Setting limits is crucial. Otherwise, believers will try to trample on you, believing they are doing so "for your own good."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, I'll admit to registering just to reply to this topic, which I've been following for months of lurkdom here.

 

electech98, I'm going to voice a potentially unpopular opinion. 

 

Don't reply to this email.

 

You've set your boundaries, and your jerk of a FIL has continued to try to trample them (but he's okay because it's all about jeeeeeezus). If you respond to him, he isn't going to hear your explanations. He isn't going to care about your carefully worded email. All he's going to see is "Ahah, it took me six emails to get a response to him about God! Boundaries schmoundaries!" and continue pressing his agenda.

 

If he sends you an email about the things you enjoy discussing with him and you want to reply, do so. But do not reply to the God ones! There won't be some magic moment that he gets what you're thinking and feeling now any more than you're going to suddenly go "Wow, Dad was right, I'm re-dedicating my life to God!"

 

In the meantime, I'm sending you a virtual high five (or whatever the kids these days are doing).

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, I'll admit to registering just to reply to this topic, which I've been following for months of lurkdom here.

 

electech98, I'm going to voice a potentially unpopular opinion. 

 

Don't reply to this email.

 

You've set your boundaries, and your jerk of a FIL has continued to try to trample them (but he's okay because it's all about jeeeeeezus). If you respond to him, he isn't going to hear your explanations. He isn't going to care about your carefully worded email. All he's going to see is "Ahah, it took me six emails to get a response to him about God! Boundaries schmoundaries!" and continue pressing his agenda.

 

If he sends you an email about the things you enjoy discussing with him and you want to reply, do so. But do not reply to the God ones! There won't be some magic moment that he gets what you're thinking and feeling now any more than you're going to suddenly go "Wow, Dad was right, I'm re-dedicating my life to God!"

 

In the meantime, I'm sending you a virtual high five (or whatever the kids these days are doing).

 

You could also sign up on the web to have some insurance brokers call his phone number....keep him busy... :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.