The Great Courses

A Man Against His Father

Jun 26, 2013 at 11:02 AM
5 years ago

It's often challenging to be an atheist in a religious culture.  It's even more challenging when your parents are hard-core believers in God.  

My own rows with family have colored the past five years, the most recent exchange ending with a message from my father informing me that, "Sorry, Seth, but there can be no fellowship with anyone who is an unbeliever."

I mentioned this encounter recently online, and I've had several Christians (with the best of intentions) contact me in an effort to defend the faith.  They say, "Your father's non-acceptance of you is sad, because that's not what Christianity is.  Your father's behavior isn't Christ-like."

I must respond that, actually, this behavior is actually in line with scripture.  Consider the words of Jesus himself:

"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ 

"Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.  Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me."  -MATTHEW 10:34-38

rejection ahead

Of course, the believer then follows up with a cherry-picked love passage:  "Husbands, love your wives," or "Dear friends, let us love one another," or perhaps "Love never fails."  They protest that the harsh rejection of sons and daughters "don't represent MY God!"

These counter-verses and protests are supposed to somehow negate the words of Matthew 10, when instead they draw a huge circle around the contradictory nature of scripture, it's characters and teachings. 

Jesus is supposed to be the Rock, the final Word, the unchanging Truth.  Instead...he's Sybil

I submit that a father shunning a son is actually very Christ-like, as he is following directly the command of Jesus that each person place his/her loved ones on a lower, disposable tier on the loyalty/love scale, embracing a jealous god at the cost of all others.

"Anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."

Of course, all of this raises a larger question.  If Yahweh/Jesus/God is the most powerful, omniscient and magnificent Being in all of the universe...what could he POSSIBLY have to be jealous about? 

-Seth Andrews

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