So recently there was an email sent out (by my father, to the rest of the family) and it was basically saying that all Democrats hate god and blah blah blah, nation dying blah blah blah, here are some bible verses. After some intense discussion where most of my family shat on my beliefs and called me stupid, I started a discussion with my father asking him to not include me on these types of emails in the future. He then said that I need to change my ways and I emailed him back instances where religion has failed and should not be involved in government. This was his response:
Sorry about the weird colour change in the middle....don't know why that happened.
I DID find it especially interesting that his OWN dad was an atheist. I'll bet there's an interesting story there, and I can't help wondering what part that may have played in your dad's adopting religion --
Some background info on that situation is this: my father was a slightly practicing methodist, only because that was what my grandma was, but became born again at the age of like 24 I think (which is odd since that is close to the age of when I left religion). As for my grandfather, I do not know if he was an atheist or not, he died when my mom was preggers with me, but I do know that he was a drunk. My grandfather also refused to see my father and mother near the end of this life since they were super pushy with their faith and tried to get him to accept Jesus as his savior before he died. Maybe that will help me in the future, since he always says that is one of his biggest regrets, and he won't want to push me out of his life either.
Thanks I think I fixed it!
Well, ok - you're not a horrible person. You may need to remind your father that although you remain his daughter, you are also now an adult with your own thoughts and feelings and logic. How else would have he wanted to raise his child?
Thanks for the response, I tired saying that to him in the email he is responding to, but to no avail. And he probably would be happier if I turned out just like my brother, who, runs a youth ministry in my mom's church, after being kicked out of my dad's church because they had differing opinions on salvation and has multiple bible studies a week in his house. Ah well, thanks again.
Focusing in on just that last paragraph, it sounds like your dad is saying - you get to choose, but so do I. Your dad seems to truly believe that you are headed for disaster. While we here know that choosing reason does not lead to doom and gloom, many of us have to accept that it is not so easy for our families to understand this. I really can't fault a father for wanting to save his daughter the pain of what he believes will come.
Now, this doesn't mean that you should just sit back and yield or silently agree, but you may want to try changing tactics. I always remind myself to first seek to understand. Do you know why your dad is sending you these emails? Does he think that you don't understand something, or that more information will change your mind? Ask him, listen (if you feel yourself getting agitated, politely take a break to grab some water, and return when calm), and ask questions to make sure you understand his side of things. He spoke to you about his dad - what did he do that he felt showed his father honor and respect (it obviously wasn't copying his beliefs without question)? Once you understand him better, you'll be able to figure out how to communicate with him more effectively.
Some of us walk a fine line in our families, and it's takes a while to figure out how to walk it without falling. I'm still working on that one with my father, but it gets better every time.
Side note: Things in your family seem more contentious than in mine, so I completely understand why they don't know. I just know that my family didn't really stop trying to appeal to me by bringing up god and judgment until after I "came out" and let them know that I'm an atheist (I had to clearly draw the line in the sand). I'm not saying to come out if you don't feel it's safe, but just keep in mind that you'll probably hear this sort of pleading for some time.
Funny to think that I am the same age as your father, but with a rather different spin on 'reality'.
You might remember a little church history. The Inquisition, Luther's racism, Biblical support/unsupport of racism and slavery, Church validation of the Nazis, Church support of feudal kings, supression of sciences, yadayada. Your father's version of Christianity is rather new and most likely did not exist at the beginning of the republic!
What I find funny is that the 'decay' of civilization and culture has been be-moaned atleast since about 2200bc. If memory serves, atleast a few greek philosophers showed concern about the next generation! Sadly, as with most predictions, they do not always show much success with the call!
Looking at my own experiences with religion, I think your father and many others of his persuation, see through a lense of their ignorace. I find myself concerned with 'end of times/days' perceptions, but also know that change does not always favor the generation that experiences it.
If your father had it his way, I expect that he would love you to knell and pray at his idol, marginalize groups of people that he finds objectional, suppress ideas that do not jive with his simplistic world view, and maybe place Oral Roberts into the pantheon of US presidents.
We do seem to be grasping at straws as a culture at times. The desire to return to some romantic simple time, demands that we ignore the importand details that would not support even our rather modern ideas of religion. I do wonder how well your father would fair, if dumped into the era of Christ. Would he be among the happy few to break bread with the 'man', or tied to a tree and wiped for disrespect, or considered influenced by a demon for his ideas?
It is unclear how well the cultural outlyers were treated then. There is some indication from history, that there were many traveling teachers at the time of Christ and before. Since your father has been socialized into one metaphysical commitment, such a trip to the past might have been educational. Sadly such an experiment will not been done any time soon.
I suggest that you keep to your guns, but this does not demand that you make premature commitments to atheism or theism. I think the greatest threat to honesty is premature metaphysical commitments. I might have docked my little boat to the port of atheism, but maybe I am just waiting for the next great wind to blow or when the local catch gets thin. I think the human mind is bigger than an 'ism' can contain, but many of our fellow travelers confuse comfort and simple certainty, with the 'truth'.
@James - it's Halloween, I thought you might enjoy this:
"What does the ghost of a mathematician say?"
"Boo - lean!"
Khalil Gibran said that your children are living arrows that you, the bow, send down the path of Life - you aim as best you can, but once you've released the arrow, your control of its flight ends.
Your Dad needs to understand that if he aimed well, you'll be just fine.
I could write a book taking your father's response apart, but it's been done and it's all out there. So just a note:
Regarding how horrible a person you are. At the very worst you're a critical thinker. That's a good thing, we reward that, we even set up this whole system in college where that is basically all we do. If being inquisitive to the point of critique was immoral then prisons would be filled with cultural critics and philosophers.
And, as a side note because I couldn't ignore this: "You cite the Middle Eastern countries. Let’s take a look at countries based on non-religion such as China or Communist Russia." I have been to the Middle East, and I have been to China, and believe me when I say China wins, every time.
Also maybe bring up how most of the continent of Europe consistently votes into office politicians that would be demonized as "socialists" in the US (even the conservative ones), yet somehow continues to prosper, grow, expand social equality, and produce some of the happiest and safest societies in the world...
Not that everything is great in Europe; the point simply being that liberal politics don't corrode a society. It's pathetic how many people think they do, nowadays. Would you like to return to the "freedom" of the days when there were no child labor laws or civil rights for minorities?