Honestly I need advice from other people. It seems like I am failing as a mother. I desperately need community in my life. I don't know how to find it...church would be one way. But I couldn't go back to believing again just to have that. That would be dishonest.

What do other atheist single mothers do? Anyone??

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It's a positive gift from nature:  nature gears us up towards thriving.  We deserve it because we earn it because life is hard and if we live ethically.  By the same logic, everyone deserves second chances.

Nature is not an entity, it has no interest in each of us thriving - in fact, when you contemplate earthquakes, tsunamis, eyeball-burrowing worms and pandemics, its more as if nature is trying to kill us off. We survive despite natures efforts, but not as individuals, more as a species.

I would not give a 'second chance' to a child rapist. Would you? The Catholic Church gave second chances to its abuser-priests, which enabled them to continue abusing.

There is no 'deserving' in nature. It's a man-made construct which we could and probably should do without.

Thriving is an emergent property of evolution and being alive; and evolution and being alive are aspects of nature. 

If I was a church official who uncovered child-raping activity in one of my clergy, I would have them arrested with a view to sending them to prison.  But when they came out, I would re-employ them in a neutral admin job far away from vulnerable people - having to take into account the wider reputation of the church. 

"Deserving" is a man-made construct, but it is worth having and bringing up because so many of us feel we do not deserve to be happy, even though nature offers this gift for free to everyone. 

Exactly. The concept of debt involves someone or something owing someone something. That impies either a real or implied contract does it not? Either that or some ethical metaphysic.

To put it another way, can one incur a debt all on one's own? If not, how can one deserve something all on one's own?

Good stuff.  Someone said to me once, "If you do nothing, nothing happens".  This is true.  But it's also true that "if you do something, something happens". 

Why not try several of the things that TJ suggests, and out of those, one or two might lead to something substantial or otherwise advantageous. 

I appreciate that going to Church regularly is a lot to take if you're an atheist. 

Shouldn't hurt to try it, for your son (imo). Even if you fall prey and convert back to the dark side, you'll still be awesome. That word "fail" doesn't fit your potential, except as temporary learning experiences.

Haha, just thinking, if it helps "save" your son, you can still laugh and call it a victory.One of my grandmothers always wanted to take us to church, and my atheist parents just said it's up to us. I didn't even know they were atheist until I finally asked them years later.

That's just IMO, if I were an atheist mom. (In fact my kids' mom is Catholic.)

This is a tough one. I have struggled with this too. Going to church is such an easy answer for so many people but not us.  I don't think it's necessarily dishonest to be an atheist and go to church. I do think it would depend a lot on which church you're talking about. I also don't think one needs to believe to go to church although it probably increases the odds that one would return to believing by osmosis. I would only have considered going to the UU church but that's not perfect either.

My son is a unique soul who didn't want to do any group sports or activities so I didn't meet people that way.  That is how many parents make friends - through their kids. There may be groups in your area with whom you and your son have something in common.  I don't know what that would be, just brainstorming here.

Asking for ideas is good so you're off to some kind of start.  : )

 

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This lot look good

Shambhala Meditation Center  (Buddhist society)

Thank you SO much for the suggestions everyone! I will let you know if it ends up working out and hopefully I will make some real connections somewhere. I've lived in support groups these last few years. The problem with 'support groups' is that everyone is fucked up. So at a certain point it starts to hold you down not lift you up anymore. While I will always be friends with some of the women I've met, it is not a substitute for real community connections.

Buddhism is an atheist religion. Yes, there's woo, but no deity. Meditation can benefit many people. I don't think I'm one, but you might be.

What I like about Buddhists is that they're intellectual, spiritual, and (usually) nice people.  They're also anti-dogma, so if you disagree with them, they tend to be interested rather than resentful. 

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