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Well That Was Awkward


mymistake
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I made my mother cry.  It was just in time for Mother's Day too.  It tuns out she was hatching her very first plan to get me to come back to Jesus but it didn't work.

 

Background:

A few days ago my dad calls me and tells me that I should call my old pastor from high school because Pastor "Bob" really misses me and wants to hear from me.  It sounded weird.  Then the next day my mom calls and among other things she tells me that pastor "Bob" wants me to call or e-mail him because he likes to keep in touch with old members.  Again weird.  I thought about it for a few days and saw no reason to call the guy.  It just means nothing to me.

 

So my mom calls today and she wants to make small talk.  I tell her that I'm not going to call "Bob".  Her voice gets disappointed and she hesitates.  So I ask her directly if this has anything to do with my religious views and she admits that yes it was.    The conversation stayed friendly in tone but I told her that I think pastors are a bad influence because they take advantage of impressionable people.  She tried to get me to promise that if my life gets hard I will call out to God.  I told her: "No mom, that is just silly".  She told me she believes my faith is right next to me and it will all go back to normal very soon.  She was in tears the whole time.

 

I tried to calm her down and it worked a bit.  It had not been my intention to talk so much about religion with her.  It just kind of happened.  I can tell this is going to bother he for a long time.  Growing up she would always pray for relatives that "didn't know the Lord".

 

I guess I'm lucky that she is not up in arms or going bat shit.  Some people have crazy fundie folks.  My heart goes out to all the people who have it worse.  Still I don't like making my mother cry.  

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Her messed up belief system caused her to cry, not you. You were just being honest. It is sad that Xianity creates this kind of fear in its adherents. Give her your love. Maybe she'll come up with some idea why you will end up in heaven even though you're not a believer. Hmmm.

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Wow....you are such a kind, straight-shooting guy I can't imagine you 'making' your mom cry. You sounded honest and respectful--what more could a parent hope for? Her tears seem to be part of a strategy, one that included begging you to phone a pastor. She's grieving, I'd say.

 

I'd say, " Mom, I feel badly about how our conversation went yesterday. I want you to know that I love you and value your concern for me. Please know that I do believe the truth can set both of us free. Can we agree not to discuss religion? I'd rather just enjoy my relationship with you."

 

mm, you are kind and wise!

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If one is well-grounded and comfortable in their position then it is easy to be somewhat generous with friends and family, especially family. One could always "thank about" making a phone call. And if the call is made to the pastor, one can always remember a line I read in a Matt Helm book: "It doesn't cost one thin dime to call them 'Sir' and treat them with respect, and it doesn't make them bullet-proof when it is time to kill them."

 

Keep the relationship with family as intact as possible, it is well worth it in the long run. (And it never hurts to say "Well, thank you for caring" when a parent says they will pray for you.)

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If one is well-grounded and comfortable in their position then it is easy to be somewhat generous with friends and family, especially family. One could always "thank about" making a phone call. And if the call is made to the pastor, one can always remember a line I read in a Matt Helm book: "It doesn't cost one thin dime to call them 'Sir' and treat them with respect, and it doesn't make them bullet-proof when it is time to kill them."

 

Keep the relationship with family as intact as possible, it is well worth it in the long run. (And it never hurts to say "Well, thank you for caring" when a parent says they will pray for you.)

 

I'll pray for you...I'll knock on wood for you.... I'll watch tv for you. None of these should cause anyone harm. What say you, Florduh?

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Thanks guys.  This is a case where my mom really thinks her loving God is going to send me to hell to be tortured forever because I didn't accept God enough.  I'm not going to talk to my old pastor because I'm kind of pissed at him for filling the minds of thousands of people with this type of crap.  I'm not going to try to deconvert my mother because I remember how long the pain and fear from deconversion lasted for me.  I wouldn't wish that on her.  The best I can hope for is that some time before she dies she decides that God will spare me somehow.  I realize this the the toxin of Christianity at work.  It sucks but I know lots of people suffer much more.

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  • Super Moderator

 

 

I'll pray for you...I'll knock on wood for you.... I'll watch tv for you. None of these should cause anyone harm. What say you, Florduh?

 

 

 

 

Who cares what I say??? Hell, if somebody wants to pray you can't stop them. They will knock on wood and watch TV if they so desire. No skin off my horns.

 

Anyway, I think Positivist had good advice. And don't forget that you did not make Mom cry, you were her excuse to cry. It's not as if you're in some nefarious plot to ruin her day, you're just honest and entitled to your opinion.

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I have two points: 1. You are not responsible for your mother's belief in her myth or its consequences.

2. Do everything you can to keep you and your mom close without compromising your own beliefs and right to have them. bill

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It sounds like you're going to have to adopt a "lather, rinse, repeat" approach with her about religion. No matter what she says about God, faith, church, her beliefs, just keep repeating, "Mom, I don't want to discuss religion with you." Don't go into any long-winded justifications. 

 

This is one of the things that I hate the most about religion. How can you argue that it's good if it makes people feel this bad about people they love?

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I made my mom cry, about a two and a a half yrs ago, sh was trying to engourage me, saying God loves you no matter what" and I was like "there is no God." and she burst out cying  - in public, we were at the beach near the food stands, a high trafficked area, so tons of people walkng by seeing her bawling, she saying, "you're so UNSTOPPABLE about this"  and the difficult thing is she is my best friend in the whole world. - but on this matter I cannot yield. She is a great person, but that is in SPITE of, and not BECAUSE OF, christianity.

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OP, I could imagine my mother doing this. She cried a bit when I told my parents I no longer believe.  You're right though, there's no point trying to deconvert her. Once they reach a certain age, it's not worth it. All their friends are christians, the mental battle is too much, in my parents' case their income is from the church, etc. Unless my parents are seeking to discuss it, I try to avoid any attempts at deconversion.

 

Caught between a rock and hard place though, huh? It seems sometimes the only thing that will pacify them is the hard truth. But you don't want to see them live out those consequences.

 

As others have said, who knows maybe there's a chance your mum will find a theological loophole.  I remember my grandmother had a "word from God" that all her children would be saved. One of her sons died in a sudden accident and she's convinced that he's in heaven. Even though he had no interest in god, church, etc.  Even when I was a christian, I thought it was just wishful thinking on her part. But hey, as long as she believes it and it makes her happy in her final years.

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With dementia patients caregivers usually go along with what the patient thinks is going on, i.e."Yes, we just brought the cows in" to a retired farmer living on a dementia unit but still asking about his cattle, and "Your wife will be here tomorrow" to a demented patient whose wife died 20 years ago but he forgets this every 5 minutes. You could try a similar approach with your mom, i.e. "If God is real he will save me. Have faith, mom." This consoles her in her delusion and relieves her existential distress.

 

Just a thought.

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With dementia patients caregivers usually go along with what the patient thinks is going on, i.e."Yes, we just brought the cows in" to a retired farmer living on a dementia unit but still asking about his cattle, and "Your wife will be here tomorrow" to a demented patient whose wife died 20 years ago but he forgets this every 5 minutes. You could try a similar approach with your mom, i.e. "If God is real he will save me. Have faith, mom." This consoles her in her delusion and relieves her existential distress.

 

Just a thought.

 

That's a good one.

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mymistake, I am so sorry to hear this (and I am a little late to this post). It must be very difficult for you. I can't imagine as my parents are not, and never were, christians. When I told my parents that after 15 years I was no longer a christian they were so happy for me and probably quite relieved as I had been on to them about being saved for years. Not once did they berate me for being a christian and preaching to them at times. Hearing the problems you, and many others on this site have with their parents make me appreciate this all the more and really feel for all who have this barrier between them and their parents. When I was christian I felt on the outside of my family as only two converted after years of my preaching; even then one literally cut me out of her life hours after she was 'saved' at a church, to avoid christian influence, and the other is now more of a deist. Having my family back now gives me a glimpse of what many have lost by using their brain. This is so sad. Makes me very angry at religion; all it does is divide families, friends and communities.

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Hey thinks guys.  I've talked to her again and she has calmed down about the whole thing.  I expect she will try again someday but it will be a while.  I might try to convince her that once saved always saved just to get that off my back.  She is in good health but if that ever takes a turn for the worse and she has a death bed moment I would probably fake a reconversion just while I am around her.  So far there is no sign of dementia but if she gets that I'm home free.  Dementia patients remember things how they were decades ago.  She will think Ronald Reagan is president and I am a saint who never questions his faith.  Either that or she will think I am her brother.  But he was a solid Christian too so it's all good.

 

Lots of ex-Christians have it worse than me.  I consider myself lucky.  Why if I had wound up as a child of my aunt yikes.  I feel so bad for my cousins and they are still officially believers.  I will keep you guys posted on what else develops.

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Jesus fucking Christ that's horrible.  This is a great example of how this "compassionate god's" religious system can cause turmoil within the family.  Family members are so distraught over the faith status of their loved ones they can't enjoy their own lives and make others miserable. Give your life over to Jesus because he wants you depressed and sad until every God damn unbeliever is "saved" because he loves you more than anyone. 

 

It's an invisible prison.

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I haven't had that experience yet, mymistake, but I know it's coming. It's going to be a sad experience for me as well. Likewise I relate with you on the "aunt" thing -- I have one aunt in particular who is so ultra-fundy, if I told her I was an atheist she would either disown me or call an exorcist. I care a lot less about hurting her feelings, but there would be fallout from other family members as well after word got around.

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I made my mom cry, about a two and a a half yrs ago, sh was trying to engourage me, saying God loves you no matter what" and I was like "there is no God." and she burst out cying  - in public, we were at the beach near the food stands, a high trafficked area, so tons of people walkng by seeing her bawling, she saying, "you're so UNSTOPPABLE about this"  and the difficult thing is she is my best friend in the whole world. - but on this matter I cannot yield. She is a great person, but that is in SPITE of, and not BECAUSE OF, christianity.

 

Just one more example of the damage that Christianity causes. If your mom had believed in a god that was not a monster, her reaction would have been extremely different. She would probably have smiled and said, "Well, if God wanted you to know he was real, he would show himself to you somehow." If she believed in a god that did not require belief and constant worship to feel good about itself, she would have had no reason to fear what might happen to you for saying, "There is no God".

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This brings back memories of me telling my mom I don't believe in god anymore. Awkward as HELL!

 

I put it off as long as I could, but finally just realized that there would never be a good time and it was going to hurt her no matter what, so I just came out and said it over lunch in a fast-food restaurant. She was, I'm sure, as shocked and distraught as your mom is. I don't think she saw it coming at all.

 

That was seven years ago. We have a great relationship, and despite living an hour apart, we visit every week and talk on the phone every other day or so. We don't discuss my lack of religion, which is fine with me. 

 

Over time, I think it will get easier for both of you. The best thing you can do is remember that your mom is an adult and she will find a way to cope with this. Human beings have a great ability to adapt for survival.

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Here is my crying story: My wife decided in the middle of a short trip to have a crying fit over my deconversion. She then wanted to go home immediately so we pack up our things as she is crying and then she runs into the hotel lobby crying and asking to check out early. She mentioned something about her atheist husband to the lady clerk who replied she would pray for her. Wife comes back out to the car crying and sobing this little story to me as we began our 3 hour drive home because she thinks gawd placed the Christian lady there for her. But first I had to endure about an hour of why I am a fool for doing this and the same list of all the people I have upset.

 

Religion, nope! I see no value in anything that drives people to this. To me this behavior is proof that it does not belong in our culture.

 

Things are much better now. Took almost a year for my wife to adjust. She in fact has done so as I held my ground.

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Here is my crying story: My wife decided in the middle of a short trip to have a crying fit over my deconversion. She then wanted to go home immediately so we pack up our things as she is crying and then she runs into the hotel lobby crying and asking to check out early. She mentioned something about her atheist husband to the lady clerk who replied she would pray for her. Wife comes back out to the car crying and sobing this little story to me as we began our 3 hour drive home because she thinks gawd placed the Christian lady there for her. But first I had to endure about an hour of why I am a fool for doing this and the same list of all the people I have upset.

 

Religion, nope! I see no value in anything that drives people to this. To me this behavior is proof that it does not belong in our culture.

 

Things are much better now. Took almost a year for my wife to adjust. She in fact has done so as I held my ground.

 

I'm glad things are better for you now.

 

Things seem to improve in my relationships over time as well.  Christians I have told eventually calm down and go on with life.  I haven't had any more problems with my mother.  She is almost okay.

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I know Dad worries about it, because he said so back in '03 which was the last time we talked about it.  I don't think Mom worries about it at all.  She has always supported me arriving at my own conclusions, at least since I became an adult.  I think she secretly believes that God doesn't send good people to Hell.

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