My Dad Lives in a Bubble and it Pisses Me off.

I'm venting. Straight up. But I need somewhere to share my anger and ... disappointment. You see, my dad is a pretty smart guy. He's an electrical engineer. He likes to think things through and is fairly methodical, except when it comes to bullshit like religion, or the climate "debate" or his ultra-conservative political leanings, or thinking that some crazy conspiracy theories are actually true (The President is a MUSLIM COMMUNIST BORN IN KENYA AND COME TO DESTROY AMERICA)!

It's all connected. I realize that. The same processes that allows you to suspend your view of reality and believe in a loving god that answers prayers and yet allows your only daughter to be killed (my sister) is the same process that allows you to believe anything. When you take one thing on faith, where does that end. You start taking on all things by faith and ignoring facts, or outright dismissing them as purposefully harmful, that are contrary to your faith-held, non-factual beliefs. Seriously, I posted something on face book about climate change, and he puts up this, "Any 'science' post that says humans cause 'climate change' is bogus. It's been proven that most real scientist agree that the science of the climate change has been manipulated to work for socialist agendas and the humans have little affect over what the SUN does to this Earth." That's the kind of willful blindness I have to deal with. I just put up a handful of links and information saying how wrong he is, but he'll probably just say that I've been snookered by the Establishment, whatever that's supposed to refer to, and express incredulity at how his intelligent son could be so unaware of how he has been deceived. How do I combat that type of thinking? How can I help pop that bubble?

I suppose if he wasn't so stubborn or convicted in his ideas, he could probably work his way out of it. He won't though. Because that's the way he is. I hate it that I can't do anything about it, and I'm disappointed that the reality is that he will never change. It's just the way his brain works. I understand this, but it still sucks. Ultimately, he's got to be the one to overcome himself. I'll keep trying to show him the evidence and attempting to help him glance reality through the haze with which faith has clouded his mind.

I'm disappointed for many reasons. First of which being that I wish he could see life as the incredible and wonderful experience for what it is. I'd like him to be able to marvel at the complexities of life and intelligence and the circumstances that allowed everything to turn out this way, because I know he has the faculty to appreciate it. I want him to have this insatiable optimism about life that I've found instead of this focus on the afterlife and illusions of paradise. I want him to be able to see himself as a master of his life rather than a servant of it. The disappointment sets in when I realize he may never see things in this way.

Secondly and also important in its own way, my father is the kind of person that stands in the way of having a more rational, fact-based society. He is exactly the kind of person who has become an obstacle in American society towards our progress as a better country, a better civilization for that matter. There is so much we could accomplish if people like my father could just get out of the way. I'd say join us, but he'd have to change a lot first on a personal level as I suspect anyone of similar views would need to before I'd want them to join. The fact that my father is an obstacle to what I want to see most for my community, my country, and civilization as a whole is also incredibly disappointing to me.

I'll keep trying, though. I'll keep trying.

Views: 357

Tags: Change, Climate, Conspiracy, Conversativsm, Dads, Facts, Faith, Future., Theories

Comment by Cara Coleen on July 23, 2012 at 11:02am

I probably talk about my mother too much on this site, but... I totally feel ya. I'm incredibly frustrated and disappointed with my mother over her rigid, unyielding beliefs. I, too, see her type as the obstacle to human progress. I wish she could appreciate the beauty of another perspective; I wish she didn't look forward to the day she dies, or pray for Jesus to hurry up and "return" (i.e. destroy the planet). It really hurts my heart. I have to accept that I'll never get through to her, and she'll never really understand me or those like me. It's stunning to me that some people simply cannot change; cannot learn or progress. I feel like I'm being cheated out of a full and satisfying relationship with her. I suppose this is the definition of brainwashing. There's nothing left inside their mind but the residue of lies.

Comment by Rodney Harper on July 23, 2012 at 11:09am

Just keep fighting the good fight.

Comment by Christopher Bush on July 23, 2012 at 4:05pm

I sincerely feel for you. I see this kind of situation a lot. I count myself incredibly lucky that I don't have these kind of issues. My parents know of my atheism, and while I don't think my mother is too impressed (although she isn't particularly religious), they respect the way I feel and let me get on with it, save for a few annoyed sighs when I go off on a rant. My advice is to just stick with it with your dad. You might not make him see sense. But at least you can't say you never tried.

Good Luck.

Comment by James Cox on July 23, 2012 at 5:35pm

Sadly, IMHO, ideology or metaphysical commitments can go wrong. The best layed plans often go ary, and the best intentions sometimes are meet with the greatest friction or horrible results.

People that do not agree with us, can act as a break on our extreamism, and if we are lucky, we can be a break on theirs.

Over the years, I have taken on numerous quests to change the opinions of others. Religious commitment, evolution, cults, even the enviromenatal issues surrounding the killing of seals to protect salmon populations. Sadly it seems rather clear that many people are not driven by honesty, evidence, or even an understanding of their own natures and history. Most fall back to 'habits' of thought, and are lucky to have any sense of perspective.

I remember conversations with my father. He was frustrated by decisions relating to estate issues following a death in the family. I told him about a decision theory/analysis class I had taken, and that we could sit down and look over the decisions to clarify and settle them. He did not see me as an intelligent mind wanting to help, just as his child that did not know his ass from a hole in the ground, in his estimation. Eight years of school, had no effect, like I had wasted my time, just to be evaluated as wanting.

Dad thrashed around and wasted a family resource generating nothing lasting. ;p(.

I find my cynacism at times, guess I'll get over it.    

 

Comment by Doug Reardon on July 23, 2012 at 8:14pm

Hawk: your father feels the same way about you.

Comment by Heather Spoonheim on July 23, 2012 at 8:30pm

I know how you feel, Hawk.  It's like a fate worse than death - they are still walking & talking, but you've lost them.  There is no casket for closure or ceremony for grieving, just the everlasting torture of knowing you'll never be able to reach their mind.  Nowadays I don't even know where my mother lives.

Comment by Unseen on July 23, 2012 at 11:48pm

My family isn't fanatical. My dad has always been a Christian and still (at age 91) goes to church every sunday. As far as I can tell, he really believes he will meet up with my mom in Heaven. In the meantime, he has a Jewish lady close to his age as a girlfriend. I have no idea if he believes she will go to heaven, too, and I also have no idea how that will work, being in heaven with mom and the girlfriend, I mean. He believes in The God of Love, so he's probably sure God will work that out for him. I love the guy to death but he, like many people, just don't think much about these sorts of things.

Comment by Citizen Atheist on July 24, 2012 at 7:44am

I feel for you because the way your father is now, is the way I used to be just two years ago.  My indoctrination was so thorough and only now am I questioning why I thought global warming was a myth, and I'm still having a hard time accepting that it could even be a fact.  The change that becoming an Atheist has been profound in me.

I also feel for you because my wife is exactly like your father, and she doesn't know I'm Atheist.  Worse, my neighbor is a good looking guy, is extremely religious and he and my wife talk.

I became Atheist due to my own desire to find out which sect of Christianity was the right one.  They disagreed on some major topics, so I knew they couldn't all be right.  After a short time of honest study, I realized that none of them were right, and that God didn't exist.  The change was one helped along by current Atheists, but I had to go digging to find them.

What you can do is educate people.  Not everyone can be educated (like, possibly, your father) but we must educate those who can.  By doing so, we can slowly chip-away at the total mass of willful ignorance left in the world.  Once enough is chipped-away, the scales will tip in our favor and the Theists will be the oddballs... not us.

Keep working.  It may not happen in your lifetime, but just over the last two years I've seen a huge increase in media coverage of Atheist activities and have seen the Pew research polls begin to shift in our favor.

Keep your education kind and generous.  The only thing worse than an Atheist is a pushy Atheist.  Feel free to substitute Christian for Atheist.

Comment by Denise W on July 24, 2012 at 10:45am

You hit it on the head when you noted that he has to see it for himself. Nothing you can do will pull him out of Plato's allegorical cave. 

On climate change, you could ask him --if you're prepared for him to get ugly-- why the Canadian geese did not migrate this year....but no snark allowed. ;-)

Comment by Heather Spoonheim on July 24, 2012 at 10:57am

You know, on the climate change part of it all I'm rather indifferent.  It has become more of a cult of belief than a plan of action and it just irritates me.  There is no way we are going to cut our CO2 emissions in half, at least not until petrol finally runs out, so I see no point in 'believing' one way or the other.

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