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:
When I was growing up, my dad was pretty religious, too. There was a lot of pressure from him to go to church and to be active in it. Even though he said I had a choice in going, I really never really felt like I did. If I had said no, then his disappointment would have been obvious. My father, being a man I respected, was not a man I wanted to disappoint. So yes, I felt like I was forced to go as well. Eventually, I wanted to go. I got pretty wrapped up in it, but it was more along the lines of "if you can't beat them, join them."
Venturing out on a limb, I'd say you might feel a similar way and that every time he attempts to convince you that he is right it comes back to feeling like you don't have a choice if you want his respect. It might help if you explain to him what your ethics are and where they come from. It's hard for many religious people to contemplate how to live life without it. My dad told me that without religion he wouldn't know what to do in life. They think that the same goes for everyone else that without the guidance of the divine, a person liable to go all crazy and the world will fall apart, which we can see is silly, but to him, that's how the world works.
It sounds like his religion is a very important part of who he is. I'd imagine he thinks it was one of the greatest things that happened to him. Telling him that you don't want to hear about a part of his life that he thinks is the greatest thing since sliced bread is probably pretty disheartening to him. He may feel that your rejection of religion is a rejection of him.
Assuage his fears. Let him know that you are still an ethical person and you certainly going to lead a life like that of his father. Help him understand you and where you are at and how you view life. He's concerned about you. He thinks that he's found the best way to live life and that (probably because of his experience is life) he thinks that any other way will lead to ruin. And he wants that best way for you because he cares. So when you say that you disagree with him about matters of faith, I imagine he might also take it as a rejection of a gift that he's trying to give you out of love.
I know it's seriously tempting to combat these fallacious ideas about a Christian country and the Biblical basis of America and how the world will end if Jesus isn't important and all that other nonsense, but leave it for another day. That's not the battle you need to fight. Don't get distracted. The battle you need to fight is acceptance. You won't do that by standing apart, but by reminding them that about values you still share. If your family wasn't important to you, I don't think you'd be arguing with them or worrying over this enough to ask a bunch of people on the internet their opinion.
Here's an example right here that I couldn't help but notice: "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." Your dad is saying that he is concerned for your future and you respond with politics? I can see your point in there (religion can be detrimental to people's lives), but that's the wrong way to go about explaining it especially to someone who is likely to never experienced how it can hurt others. That's a point you can start from: by explaining how their actions are hurting you. That you want to be a part of the family, but that you feel that being religious is part of that requirement.
It's a fine line some of us have to walk. I hope it works out for you.
Well, I do what I can!
imo, the very first sentence is suspect:
Well, my question would be when did I ever “force” my beliefs on you? You may have been required to go to church when you were under our roof, but you were never forced to pray for Christ to be your Savior.
Children model strongly off of their parents in a natural and automatic way; to the point of overriding external cultural influences. That's not wrong by itself, but this is a dicey subject you have to be really, really careful about, imo. I think taking you to church should have been presented to you a little more objectively, by allowing you to ask to go after speaking to people of different faiths and, of course, atheists. As long as you do this due diligence, what you teach by example isn't bad by itself.
Welcome to the 'A little more light Zone'. As an atheist/humanist, we often rant at theists, find fault with other beliefs, and net-pick at details. Atleast, you are more free to change your mind, and allow yourself the opportunity to try the options from column B, without too much condemnation. What condemnation you do received can be mostly ignored, unless they are from the sysop. LOL
Wow, really sucked to be you as a child! That whole "home-school/Christian school" thing is nothing more than an effort to keep any other ideas out of kid's heads except for the ones Mom and Pop want in there - a combination of brain-washing and Stockholm Syndrome.
In this country, that constitutionally separates church from state, Bush II established vouchers - taxpayer money - for parents to use as tuition for private (i.e., religious) schools, relieving those parents of the burden of paying for their decision to indoctrinate their children in a plastic bubble, isolated from real life, and placing it on us.
Hey Amanda - this is what bothers me about the whole religion concept ... it is almost impossible for a devout adherent *not* to abuse their children. I used to discount the mantra about religion using fear tactics, but the more I hear the more I think its true. Thankfully I was never told I was going to hell, especially as a child. That's horrible.
RE: "neither are guaranteed" - that may be true, Greg, but I think that you will agree with me that the love of a parent for a child should never be conditional upon that child's belief system - if it is, it isn't love.
RE: "conditional love is better then no love at all" - I can only reiterate, conditional love IS no love at all.
It's love of an image that you hold in your mind, and if your child can step into that image, and fit it perfectly then you will love it, but your love isn't for the child, it's for the image, the child is an incidental. And you DO realize, I'm sure, that I mean only the metaphorical, "you."
WOW...there must be a tragic story behind all that pain, you must have really been hurt to end up seeing love as an all or nothing proposition. I wish I could help, but I can't, I'm a very flawed individual, I've taken my lessons in life by riding the ebb and the flow of it, experiencing the pleasure and pain of my own journey.
It's left me battered and scarred and maybe a little wiser. I wish you much luck in finding perfect unconditional love, for myself I'll take what I can get, I've seen the other side of the coin and it's not so pretty.
Gregg, I think that everyone has a different capacity for love. I loved my father unconditionally. We disagreed on some points and agreed on others, but that did not impact my love for him. I also love my mother, and we have had an extremely tempestuous relationship - it doesn't affect the fact that I love her completely.
I love my brother and my sister unconditionally. They happen to both be truly remarkable people, but I will love them whatever they might say, do or be going forward. In case of an organ requirement, I will gladly give them one of any of my body parts they might ever need.
I would really like you to understand that for some people, this is not a difficult concept. I also am taking from your post, that it is not applicable to everyone. That is fine by me, I hope its fine by you also.
I happen to agree that there are some people I love conditionally. I love my wife, but should she go careening off in search of multiple partners outside our marriage, that might impact my love. I am pretty sure she won't, mind you :)
Trust this clarifies.