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:

>Hi Hon.  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.  You were told what the Scriptures said and then given the opportunity on your own free-will to either accept or reject that.  Salvation is a choice, not a forced belief.  No one has come into your home and dragged you off to church against your will.  I don’t call you up and yell at you for not going to church.  I may not agree with your choice, but I won’t force you into going.  I can recall you kids asking me “Am I saved?”.  I can’t answer that because it is up to you to come to Christ on your own.  I must chide you though on your statement that if you were to see God you would tell Him just how much you disagree with Him concerning His stand on homosexuality.  Once again, please create for me anything from absolutely nothing with just using your voice.  The day that you can call into existence a world, then I may think you might have some ability to govern the universe.  Until then, my idea will be that you are far less than God and since He knows what is good and evil I will obey what He says is right.  I am not a Calvinist who believes that God controls the lives of all individuals.  He did give you a free-will.  Along with that free-will is a guide for living your life in a way that will be blessed.  You will make the choice on how to live it.  You will be responsible in answering to Him how well you listened.
 
You seem to think that a nation based on religion must be bad. You cite the Middle Eastern countries.  Let’s take a look at countries based on non-religion such as China or Communist Russia.  While they may trumpet a woman’s equality, in practicality it just isn’t true.  Countries such as that restrict you even more so and keep a closer eye on you than you would have found in your life.  I admit that our government is not the same as what I grew up in, but that is because they are becoming more socialistic and communistic with each passing election.  The nation is turning away from its freedoms and demanding that the government run their lives.  What is wanted is a government that will oversee everything and punish those who have worked and become successful.  So, what trend will you be voting into office?  Amanda, I have only been alive for 57 years, but I can tell you that the moral slide and subsequent degeneration that I see in America is shocking.  We will not survive as an influential nation for many more decades.  Probably by the time you are my age this country, if still in existence, will be a non-factor in the world.  It is what the people are going to vote into office.  You say that if the people demand a new social norm then shouldn’t that country comply.  It is, and it will not turn out well.  You grew up in a country based on religion.  You were given an education.  You were encouraged to be the best you could be.  You were not denied anything that would make you a better person.  So, what is your argument?  It doesn’t have a leg to stand on.  You can point to other countries as to just what is wrong with them, but you cannot point to the privileges that were given to you and demand a religious free government.  It is because this nation was founded on the beliefs in the Bible and the God of that Bible that you have what you have.
 
Concerning the Pledge of Allegiance.  The words "under God" were added in 1954 by then President Eisenhower, who stated at the time, "In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America's heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country's most powerful resource in peace and war."  This change came from a president who went to war to fight for our freedoms.  The world threat at that time was communism, and as they state in their manifesto they do not believe in God and want nothing religious in their form of government.  Interesting to see how far America has moved from its heritage and is running towards a communistic and socialist form of government.  What form of government will you be voting into office?
  
You say that if I can accept your beliefs and if I don’t push my beliefs on you then we will get along just fine.  I wish you could hear your statement as I hear it.  I couldn’t think of a more disrespectful thing to say to my Dad.  While my Father was not a Christian, and his ways were so completely different from God’s, I knew that my goal in life was to honor him.  I did that because God said “Honor your father and mother that your days may be long upon the earth”.  I did to his dying day.  If you want to know how much I love my Dad and respect him just ask me and I will gladly tell you.  I pray your children will never speak to you in that way.  You don’t understand that right now and you may never understand it.  I don’t agree with your beliefs, but I have not and will not push my beliefs on you.  However, I will not be silent when I see you headed towards what I know will not end well.  My daughter, I love you.
 
I'm....without words about this and since I've been wanting to share this situation for a while I decided to share the end of the discussion.  So thoughts?  I'm sad that I hurt his feelings but honestly I feel like if he can't see how he is pushing his religion on me every time he sends me an email with a bible verse in it or calls my actions/beliefs amoral, then he deserves it.  Am I a horrible person? (Please answer honestly...also would it help if I posted what I wrote to him?)
 
Obviously, they don't know I'm an atheist. 

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"Trust this clarifies."

Of course it does.  For myself I 'feel' love it's emotional.  Conditions on the other hand are concepts that are part and parcel to our own individual paradigms. 

Many of us have and do love deeply and that is to be treasured and protected as best we can.

But for a human to claim to be capable of "unconditional love" toward another human for an entire lifetime is a level of hubris that I cannot not bring myself to rise to.  I guess I've live too long and seen too much to entertain the idea that any human is capable of such a feat, so I remain skeptical of the phenomenon.

RE: "I guess I've live too long and seen too much to entertain the idea that any human is capable of such a feat, so I remain skeptical of the phenomenon."

And that makes me wonder on which side of these posts the pain really lies --

It's not a question of finding it Greg, I already have it, for my own children. I feel it and show it regularly. I guess I'm not adequately expressing what I'm trying to say, as my point seems to be missing it's mark.

I'll try one last time. If Amanda's father tells her he won't love her unless she behaves and acts as a Christian, I'm saying he loves the image of Amanda as a Christian, not the REAL Amanda, who is a multitude of things, not just a cardboard Christian cutout. If he truly loved the REAL Amanda, he'd love her, even if she were Republican!

For Amanda to accept this, believing, as you say, that "conditional love is better than no love at all," she would only be deluding herself into believing her father's psuedo-love was real. and spend her - or at least his - life, knowing that if she steps a foot too far to the right or the left of this path her father envisions for her, the love ends - what kind of neurotic life would that be?

I'm sorry we're miscommunicating, I wish I could express myself better. I love unconditionally, on a daily basis, no pain here.

In fact, I believe one of the reasons I became an atheist as a teenager, was that, upon reading the Bible, it became obvious that if I can love love unconditionally, and god clearly can't or he wouldn't have need of the concept of sin or to send his son to die an agonizing death, then I'm the superior being, because I can do something that god can't. In such a case, why should I worship him? (You understand, that I speak of god as though he were real, as I'm trying to demonstrate the process my teen-age mind went through, "back in the day")

I'm glad that you love your family so deeply, that's a good thing.

I don't accept the "unconditional love" concept, I can't picture an absolute ideology like that, it's a bit too nonsensical for me.

I don't personally know Amanda nor her Dad so I can't speak for them.  I hope Amanda and her Dad can find enough common ground to love each as best as they can, conditional or not.

On that, we both agree.

Here, Amanda - have your Dad watch this on YouTube (he probably wouldn't care to watch it on TA):

What a wonderful video.

Refreshing, isn't it?

Ask your Dad something for me Amanda - if you're born again, do you have two belly buttons?

Goddamit, arch, that was both stupid and hilarious. F you for making me giggle just then.

Actually Stutz, you'd be surprised just how often those two phrases are used to describe me --

Problem is, his descriptions all begin with, "Uhh..."

Yep, just that little old air-freshener, me --

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