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Frustrating Conversation With My Parents


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I had a 3-hour discussion with my parents the other day, who are missionaries by the way.  My dad said he feels like I am an adopted daughter and that he doesn’t know where I came from (thanks dad; some apples I guess do fall far from the tree).  My parents for the first time asked me what I actually believe (after a year or so ago that I said I had serious doubts about the inherency of the Bible).  I stated that I was a hopeful deist/agnostic at this point.  My mom and dad both said they are shocked that I came to this conclusion and that I must not have ever really been a “true” believer.  I am insulted and yet I understand….a “true” believer in their eyes could never have serious doubts.  I mentioned all the myriad of reasons why I feel the Bible should be looked at with much closer scrutiny and that things just don’t add up (Not everything is a mystery we don’t quite grasp or can’t understand; it is what I read and fully comprehend that is so disturbing.  I got sick of the mind games that I had to engage in to “cover” (i.e. make excuses) for God.)  What it came down to for them is the magical conversion experience that is an anchor and basically allows them to choc everything up to a mystery or be willing to overlook/ignore inconsistencies.  To that I spoke of all the other religions where people ignored the facts and truth and gave the benefit of the doubt to their religious scriptures (it is easy to see for instance the craziness the Mormon religion is based on and yet the followers refuse to see the obvious facts).  Should we not apply critical thinking to our own beliefs? To this my father has two responses: one is that he is not a part of a religion but has a relationship with Jesus based on The Scriptures and two all other religious conversions seem to be based on social reasons and wanting to be good not about a relationship with God.  Right, we are SUPER unique and the only people on the planet with the truth.  Everyone is going to hell except the few brethren churches on the planet that are “true” believers. So frustrating!

 

My parents of course once I said that I was a hopeful deist/agnostic basically went into how embarrassing and painful this has been for them.  Every time they talk to people they have to admit that they didn’t do it all right and that they raised a bad apple.  I assured them that their upbringing didn’t really impact my decision and that they always have seemed like genuine believers.  There were two things that made a big impression on me and bothered me quite a bit about our really long conversation: 1) They said they were praying that God would bring something horrible in my life that would bring me to my knees and make me see my need for a Savior.  So now I have parents that are wishing evil upon me.  This makes me so sad and it is so messed up!!! And 2) their first reaction is that they were embarrassed and ashamed of me.  This of course is natural as I am not following in the belief system they have devoted their lives to but what is disturbing is that they never really mentioned their fear of me going to hell or that we are leading our kids to hell.  Should this not be their first concern?  Why is their first concern and thought about how all of this makes them look?  And again I just have to say this is messed up!

 

My parents are nice people and I know they love me but I am still left feeling so sad about all of this and so frustrated!  Thanks for letting me share my thoughts….somehow it helps to just vent a bit.

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Guest sylensikeelyoo

Wow. That's really messed up. I'm so sorry. This is why I'm scared to come out too. I don't want to tell people that I'm atheist because I am so afraid of this very thing. I hope things get better for you and that the bridges between you and your family will be mended. *hugs*

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Salemite it is so difficult to listen to parents, those who created you, sacrificed for you, and even imagined a bright future for you, now want you to get a strong dose of tough love from their lard above. It's a hurtful thing to say and pray for, I know. My own parents often would take advantage of a bad situation I would be in and point out how if I had been 'right with God', I wouldn't be in that predicament. Which of course is utterly ridiculous, and very petty. Who wishes ill will on their child? Mine did, and I was an only child. Fucked. Up.

 

But to your wondering at their not immediately freaking out about eternal fiery bath water. Maybe they hold the notion once baptized, saved by grace regardless? Or, they're still in denial about how serious you are. Regardless, at least you can show the general community you aren't a bad apple out to ruin things. I've found that at least by example towards fellow man, Christians have nothing on me unless the know I don't believe. But that is where it comes down to you actually believing in the sky fairy that determines your reputation, and if that is how your folks approach everything, there isn't much you can do I would bet.

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So according to your parents, you being  without religion means they screwed up in raising you? How nice of them.

 

*Sarcasm* I guess you can't have morals or be a good person if you don't believe in God or follow the bible. 

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My background is in the Brethren also.  What you describe is by no means surprising.

 

In their twisted logic, praying that you will suffer is an act of love as they think that will cause you to rely on god and save your soul from eternal suffering.

 

Their embarrassment likely has more to do with what their Christian mates will think.  The Brethren, even the "open" variety", is a very tight knit, incestuous (metaphorically) type of social group with a highly efficient gossip machine.

 

Yes, they probably are nice people, in their own way.  But their religion is making them blind to the impropriety that it imposes upon them.

 

Stick to your guns and, when the time comes, assert your independence of them.  Their is little other choice for you, save capitulation.  And that would indeed cause you to suffer.

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I find it ironic that he claims other religions convert for social reasons and then he worries about the social ramifications of you not converting!

 

About wishing you ill will, what happens when a "true Christian" faces ill will, such as a child getting run over and killed? Did God do that just to "fix" something wrong with the believer!?! The brutal illogic is just jaw-dropping!

 

As I just told someone on another thread, stay calm and logical. Keep your emotions in check no matter what they say, and they won't have much to work with.

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Thank you for your responses of encouragement and empathy.  It really is helpful.  My parents'  responses to a lot of what I said makes me even more convicted than ever that organized religion is such a great deception and ultimately not good for humanity.  I am grateful to escape all the negativity that the brethren christianity brought with it....judging everyone, constantly talking about how we are so evil and not worthy of anything good,  how everything on the planet is going down the tubes, how no one is a "true" believer, and spending endless discussions over minutiae such what songs meet god's approval and what can be shared at the lord's supper ect....

 

Life is messy but I am going to make the best of it and I am not backing down from calling things as I see them!

 

"If you could reason with religious people, there would be no religious people."--House

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I had a 3-hour discussion with my parents the other day, who are missionaries by the way.  My dad said he feels like I am an adopted daughter and that he doesn’t know where I came from (thanks dad; some apples I guess do fall far from the tree).  My parents for the first time asked me what I actually believe (after a year or so ago that I said I had serious doubts about the inherency of the Bible).  I stated that I was a hopeful deist/agnostic at this point.  My mom and dad both said they are shocked that I came to this conclusion and that I must not have ever really been a “true” believer.  I am insulted and yet I understand….a “true” believer in their eyes could never have serious doubts.  I mentioned all the myriad of reasons why I feel the Bible should be looked at with much closer scrutiny and that things just don’t add up (Not everything is a mystery we don’t quite grasp or can’t understand; it is what I read and fully comprehend that is so disturbing.  I got sick of the mind games that I had to engage in to “cover” (i.e. make excuses) for God.)  What it came down to for them is the magical conversion experience that is an anchor and basically allows them to choc everything up to a mystery or be willing to overlook/ignore inconsistencies.  To that I spoke of all the other religions where people ignored the facts and truth and gave the benefit of the doubt to their religious scriptures (it is easy to see for instance the craziness the Mormon religion is based on and yet the followers refuse to see the obvious facts).  Should we not apply critical thinking to our own beliefs? To this my father has two responses: one is that he is not a part of a religion but has a relationship with Jesus based on The Scriptures and two all other religious conversions seem to be based on social reasons and wanting to be good not about a relationship with God.  Right, we are SUPER unique and the only people on the planet with the truth.  Everyone is going to hell except the few brethren churches on the planet that are “true” believers. So frustrating!

 

My parents of course once I said that I was a hopeful deist/agnostic basically went into how embarrassing and painful this has been for them.  Every time they talk to people they have to admit that they didn’t do it all right and that they raised a bad apple.  I assured them that their upbringing didn’t really impact my decision and that they always have seemed like genuine believers.  There were two things that made a big impression on me and bothered me quite a bit about our really long conversation: 1) They said they were praying that God would bring something horrible in my life that would bring me to my knees and make me see my need for a Savior.  So now I have parents that are wishing evil upon me.  This makes me so sad and it is so messed up!!! And 2) their first reaction is that they were embarrassed and ashamed of me.  This of course is natural as I am not following in the belief system they have devoted their lives to but what is disturbing is that they never really mentioned their fear of me going to hell or that we are leading our kids to hell.  Should this not be their first concern?  Why is their first concern and thought about how all of this makes them look?  And again I just have to say this is messed up!

 

My parents are nice people and I know they love me but I am still left feeling so sad about all of this and so frustrated!  Thanks for letting me share my thoughts….somehow it helps to just vent a bit.

 

Some possible retorts:

 

So if I pray to Jesus and he doesnt make me a true believer, it's my fault? I think not. It's Jesus' fault. Well, or he doesnt really exist. :)

Why did Jesus not hold onto me if he wants a 'personal relationship' ?

If you're ashamed of me then bye bye now :)

Please tell my spouse and your grandchildren how you want something horrible to happen to me, you fruitcake parents of mine...

It's painful and embarrassing? It's painful that my own parents are trying to manipulate and control me.

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Wow, Salemite, as sylens said, that's really messed up.  I don't know what to say except that I'm glad you're out of the cult and I hope your parents can work through their disappointment and respect you for who you are.  I just read yesterday an article about a Turkish gay man whose very homophobic mother was at first devastated when he came out to her (she basically forced it out of him) but eventually came around and supported him and his lover at a European Gay Pride march.  But the mother's turnaround was largely helped by her meeting parents of other gay Turkish people.  I don't know whether anything like that is likely with parents of ex-fundy children.

 

Anyway, rock on.  It sounds from your profile as though your husband and children are sources of joy.

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I'm so sorry to read of this; it sounds like an awful situation.

 

I hope things eventually work out and your parents calm down.

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My parents of course once I said that I was a hopeful deist/agnostic basically went into how embarrassing and painful this has been for them.  Every time they talk to people they have to admit that they didn’t do it all right and that they raised a bad apple.  I assured them that their upbringing didn’t really impact my decision and that they always have seemed like genuine believers.  There were two things that made a big impression on me and bothered me quite a bit about our really long conversation: 1) They said they were praying that God would bring something horrible in my life that would bring me to my knees and make me see my need for a Savior.  So now I have parents that are wishing evil upon me.  This makes me so sad and it is so messed up!!! And 2) their first reaction is that they were embarrassed and ashamed of me.  This of course is natural as I am not following in the belief system they have devoted their lives to but what is disturbing is that they never really mentioned their fear of me going to hell or that we are leading our kids to hell.  Should this not be their first concern?  Why is their first concern and thought about how all of this makes them look?  And again I just have to say this is messed up!

I really want to slap your parents. I'm really, really sorry...but I have to say...they're assholes for saying this to you.

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I had a 3-hour discussion with my parents the other day, who are missionaries by the way. My dad said he feels like I am an adopted daughter and that he doesn’t know where I came from (thanks dad; some apples I guess do fall far from the tree). My parents for the first time asked me what I actually believe (after a year or so ago that I said I had serious doubts about the inherency of the Bible). I stated that I was a hopeful deist/agnostic at this point. My mom and dad both said they are shocked that I came to this conclusion and that I must not have ever really been a “true” believer. I am insulted and yet I understand….a “true” believer in their eyes could never have serious doubts. I mentioned all the myriad of reasons why I feel the Bible should be looked at with much closer scrutiny and that things just don’t add up (Not everything is a mystery we don’t quite grasp or can’t understand; it is what I read and fully comprehend that is so disturbing. I got sick of the mind games that I had to engage in to “cover” (i.e. make excuses) for God.) What it came down to for them is the magical conversion experience that is an anchor and basically allows them to choc everything up to a mystery or be willing to overlook/ignore inconsistencies. To that I spoke of all the other religions where people ignored the facts and truth and gave the benefit of the doubt to their religious scriptures (it is easy to see for instance the craziness the Mormon religion is based on and yet the followers refuse to see the obvious facts). Should we not apply critical thinking to our own beliefs? To this my father has two responses: one is that he is not a part of a religion but has a relationship with Jesus based on The Scriptures and two all other religious conversions seem to be based on social reasons and wanting to be good not about a relationship with God. Right, we are SUPER unique and the only people on the planet with the truth. Everyone is going to hell except the few brethren churches on the planet that are “true” believers. So frustrating!

 

My parents of course once I said that I was a hopeful deist/agnostic basically went into how embarrassing and painful this has been for them. Every time they talk to people they have to admit that they didn’t do it all right and that they raised a bad apple. I assured them that their upbringing didn’t really impact my decision and that they always have seemed like genuine believers. There were two things that made a big impression on me and bothered me quite a bit about our really long conversation: 1) They said they were praying that God would bring something horrible in my life that would bring me to my knees and make me see my need for a Savior. So now I have parents that are wishing evil upon me. This makes me so sad and it is so messed up!!! And 2) their first reaction is that they were embarrassed and ashamed of me. This of course is natural as I am not following in the belief system they have devoted their lives to but what is disturbing is that they never really mentioned their fear of me going to hell or that we are leading our kids to hell. Should this not be their first concern? Why is their first concern and thought about how all of this makes them look? And again I just have to say this is messed up!

 

My parents are nice people and I know they love me but I am still left feeling so sad about all of this and so frustrated! Thanks for letting me share my thoughts….somehow it helps to just vent a bit.

Frustration. A feeling that warns you that your giving up learning new ways to tackle a problem.
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Jesus, that's terrible. I really hope your parents wake up soon and it hits them that they wished their child would be hurt. I'd distance myself from them if I were you, but it's your family. You make that decision. Keep us updated, okay?

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