Talking on the phone with my Dad can be either a good laugh or a massive headache. Worst part is he is probably the only person in my family who does not know that I am an atheist. He is also the one person I just don’t have the courage to tell.

 

So, why can’t I tell him when it was so easy to tell everyone else? My reasoning is a rather basic one.  I don’t want to lose the relationship that took us so damned long to rebuild. He left when I was 5, it devastated me, and he didn’t really speak to me much till I was 16. To lose him again would be hard.  I know there will come a day when I’ll tell him because as of lately every time we talk I hang up wishing I had said it. Eventually I will and what ever happens will happen.

 

During our last talk he brought up that idiot Bill O’Reilly. When I told him what I thought of O’Bill, he asked me why. I told him that I get sick of his idiocy when it comes to politics and religion, that and he’s too preachy. Dad was quit for a minute before he told me he believes in God. I skirted around it by saying, “yeah most people do, even mom”. I know I could have told him then. The little voice (not supernatural) in the back of my mind was screaming at me to do it but I left it at that.

 

After a moment of awkwardness he then told me two reasons why he believes in God.

 

Reason 1)

 

Moments before I have ever been in an accident it always seems like time slows down and I am able to avoid it…

 

My response to that was:

 

Dad, that just an illusion your brain creates. In actuality time isn’t slowing down its just taking in a more complex detailed memory of the event. In short the more memory you have of that exact event the longer it seems to have taken, you know like time slowed longer.

 

Surprisingly he was rather intrigued by this and was genuinely impressed by this.

 

Reason 2)

 

One night while hauling a trailer of veggies up the mountains his alternator suddenly started dying. He was pretty upset seeing as he got his truck back a week ago after his alternator died. As the truck slowly wound down he began praying. Just when the truck was on the verge of stranding him on some back road he said “God please keep my truck running”. Suddenly, God answered his prayers and he gave the truck power. Power enough for my Dad to make it to the nearest shop before it died.

 

My response to that:

 

… Uh….

 

Nothing, I failed miserably. I couldn’t say anything and not because I couldn’t find a reasonable or logical explanation for it but because I could devalue his experience. How do I just say, well dad you know your wrong.

 

Not that I would have said it that way but still. If a person prays every time something happens and then “miraculously” that event they are praying for resolves itself on its own then of course people are going to credit a supernatural being. They were praying for it. It is an easy thing to conclude when you don't care for any other explanations. I feel that this is an enormous error ingrained in us at an early age. We are made to believe that all good things that happen to us when we pray are an outcome of divinity, that there is an invisible crusader out there watching out for all of us all.

 

As a truck driver I am sure my dad has seen many horrible accidents. How many of those people were praying too? Why is it that God chooses to answer some while ignoring so many others. What makes a family of 4 less important than say some guy who has no family at all or a child less important than the mother. Most people would choose to dismiss this question all together as it is “Gods Will”. That he wanted that family. To me this is a very sad reasoning; God places people here to have free will, demands that we worship him or else but then allows us to die horrible, painful deaths because he wants us? Wants us to what? Come up to heaven and worship him some more, in person. If that's the case then as an all powerful God why would he simply not let them die in their sleep.

 

I personally think that if one looks at any situation like this from another perspective. Then it is not unfeasible to believe that the alternator had a bad connection, a short, anything at least non-supernatural. Perfect example, I had a hair dryer once that I literally had to shake to get it to turn on... two days later it caught fire. Not the smartest thing I have ever done. I was missing hair on my right arm for weeks. Unlike my crappy Wal*Mart hairdryer those trucks are large and very powerful and because of this power they vibrate much harder then say my little Honda. If you were to take in account that either you stepped on the gas at the right moment or just enough that the connection or wire reestablished itself then there can be a reasonable explanation for it. Hell it could just be that the part was screwy and had some issues it was working out.

 

I don’t know but I don’t think its right to just assume it was an act of God just because you have no other explanation for it.

Views: 76

Comment by Ron V on November 22, 2011 at 10:38am

I would hope you can still have a relationship with him knowing you are an atheist- my mom is an evangelical Christian (who also likes Bill O'Reilly)- we simply try to avoid religion but do have occasional heated discussions.

With that said, I cannot speak for your father.  I would hope he has enough of the so-callled Christian principles that he would still accept you and you could still have a decent relationship.

Also, perhaps consider using agnostic, ignostic or freethinker.

With respect to prayer, praise the milk jug! http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/video8.htm (not intended to be shown to your dad, just for your viewing pleasure, if you haven't already seen it)

Comment by Tammy on November 22, 2011 at 12:23pm

@ Fred Werther

Thank you for your comment and understanding about the feelings of disappointment. My mother who is Christian as well as my father never really brought religion up until she found out I was an atheist.I still love her even if it makes me feel a little sad to know how my atheism made her want to practice her beliefs more openly.

 

She even went to such lengths as leaving her bible sitting out when ever I come over.

Comment by Cristynfaye on November 22, 2011 at 12:24pm

It sounds like your dad is not an altogether unreasonable person.  He seemed to listen to your argument about the brain making it seem like time is slowing down before an accident.

 

Pretty much everyone I am related to is a hardcore, Glenn Beck-type republican evangelical.  We disagree on everything.  BUT they are my family, and we love one another, despite our religious and political differences.

 

I don't know your dad, but from what you've written, it sounds like he cares about what you have to say.  I know it's really scary telling people about your atheism, and I'm sure you'll come out with it when you feel it's the right time.  Hopefully your dad will understand.

 

As far as his argument about God fixing his truck, I just don't know.  I was involved in a missionary organization for a while, and I've heard countless stories of seemingly miraculous things happening.  I've even had them happen to myself.  One time, I had about 5 bucks in the bank, and my gas tank was well below empty, but I had to drive somewhere, so I prayed that I would get there, and when I got there, the tank was like an eighth full.  Don't know how it happened.  At the time, I attributed it to God, but now I know it's ridiculous, because God wouldn't care about my gas tank more than say, a dying child who is also praying to him.  So I just don't know what to tell you.  I guess sometimes weird things happen.

Comment by Tammy on November 22, 2011 at 12:33pm

@ Ron V

Thank you, and luckily for me neither of my parents are evangelical. However, I am happy that you and your mom still have a good relationship. Recently I found out that an old friend of mine turned christian evangelical disowned her 13 year old son because he said he didn't believe in God. He is now living with his Uncle three miles from me. I was sure to give her a call soon after I heard to give her a piece of my mind.

i hope so to. Best I can do is take that leap when it comes, tell him how I feel and go from there. I've used Freethinker before and that seems to have less impact on people who have horrible preconceived notions of what an atheist means. Which usually has something to do with devil worship or eating babies.

Yes, I have seen the milk jug and it was great. I don't mind checking it out again though. So thank you for the link.

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