"...A position which required prayer."
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13-04-2013, 07:18 PM
"...A position which required prayer."
After making a surprise food delivery to the folks tonight, my dad and I got into a conversation about a member of my former congregation. I haven't been to the JW memorial of Christ's death in some time, and apparently my absence is noted annually by those within the congregation.

"John didn't come this year?" they'll ask, hoping that this time the answer will be something different from the usual "No, he's going through some 'spiritual issues' at the moment."

"Spiritual issues" is the prefered label for my state of outright, outspoken, blatantly anti-theistic nonbelief, because it makes my parents feel better to put it in such terms. Well, this year, it seems they've more or less accepted that their son completely rejects their doctrine, because when such inquires were made regarding my absence, I'm told the exact explanation was that I'm a "worthless atheist". And that's ok. I don't mind being called a worthless atheist, because I consider the source and also take note of the fact that I'm being looked down upon. When the religious are looking down on you; it means you're doing something rational.

However, it was the conversation which took place between my father and a sister Jenkins which made my blood boil. Sister Jenkins is an older woman; about six feet in height with the tanned skin of a routine garden-worker draped over a frail, almost skeletal frame. Her eyes have sunken with age and her lips have been worn thin from a lifetime of deluded smiles as she greeted people on their doorstep. For some reason, the word "Wiccan" flashes through my mind whenever I see her; probably because she looks like she'd be more at-home putting leaves in her hair and talking about the beauty of the "earth spirits" than she would sitting in a kingdom hall reading from the Bible. Anyway, she is a person in whom my parents invest a significant amount of admiration; given her number of years as a witness and the wise manner in which she relays the lessons she's learned from them. Whenever there's a "spiritual" issue, my parents look to her for advice on how best to handle the situation. (I personally think she's a ditz, but they'd say I'm biased)

At the Memorial this year, when my dad informed her that I still wasn't attending because I'm a "worthless atheist", she asked what my reasons were for no longer believing. In response, my father stated: "Well...he's just never been in a position that required prayer."

Upon hearing this, I stopped him and asked him to repeat to me, verbatim, what he had said to her.

"That's what I said. You've never been in a position that required prayer. You've never been in a tight enough spot to make you call on Jehovah."

I asked him how he could possibly know this, and he simply gave me his usual arrogant smirk that I've seen all my life and said "Because I know all your little quirks. I know what you've done. You've just never been in something like a life-threatening situation, or any situation where you needed to pray for God to help you."

This irritated me for a few reasons. Firstly, he has not, in fact, seen my every move or been made privy to every detail of my personal life - especially since I left home. I've constructed my own life about which he knows very, very little. His arrogance was almost insulting. Secondly, he is attempting to surmise that I've never been in a dire situation which might have made a more fancifully-minded man call upon a divine onlooker to remedy in some way. I most certainly have. As I've alluded to at various times here on the forum; I once attempted to take my own life. Worse than that, however, was the time leading up to that event. The weeks upon weeks of horrific mental and emotional torment which made suicide look like a fucking godsend in the first place. I will refrain from the details, but one does not come to the decision of permanently erasing his very existence lightly. But there are times when death itself is craved as a satisfying relief; akin to the comfort of falling into the embrace of the person you love the most. Does this level of suffering not qualify as a dire enough circumstance in his book?

Thirdly, his ignorant explanation of my non-belief was just another way to marginalize the fact that I don't accept their beliefs based on a significant lack of evidence. A way to say "He doesn't believe because he hasn't experienced enough to see the truth". No. Absolutely, plainly, fucking, no. I don't believe, dear father, because to believe would be to accept a demonstrable falsehood on the grounds of irrational religious faith. I do not accept faith as a valid justification for a set of beliefs. For this reason, I would not pray to your god in the first place, regardless of my circumstances, because I don't believe that anyone would be on the other side listening. It's not that I just haven't been in the proper situation, I most certainly have, but I overcame those trying times based on my own strength. My own drive and determination. Not all of us are so weak that we must call out to the celestial version of "Mamma!" when we feel threatened or unsafe. Difficult thought it may be to believe; some of us have the balls to pick ourselves up from the mud and the muck and the shit, and soldier on under our own willpower.

I don't believe, dad, because I don't believe your god exists to give me his assistance in the first place. Period. That is the exact opposite of your baseless assumptions about me, and yet you have the fucking audacity to call me arrogant.


I'm saying this here because I am simply unable to clarify this with sister Jenkins, and because to a great extent, I am not able to say it to my father, either. Sitting on the floor of my bathroom waiting to end my life is a personal part of me that I'm uncomfortable revealing to my family. Even if it would put my entire argument in perspective for him. Either way, it needed to be said. Even if neither sister Jenkins nor anyone else involved will understand or even hear my explanation; it needed to be said.

On a thread-related note: if the powers that be feel this would be better suited for another section of the forum, that's fine. It's more about a "personal issue" regarding my ongoing "recovery" anyway. Still, it could help to serve anyone else who may need to silently scream at those who misunderstand their theological or philosophical positions.

Through profound pain comes profound knowledge.
Ridi, Pagliaccio, sul tuo amore infranto! Ridi del duol, che t'avvelena il cor!
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13-04-2013, 07:41 PM
RE: "...A position which required prayer."
(13-04-2013 07:18 PM)Misanthropik Wrote:  When the religious are looking down on you; it means you're doing something rational.
Clap

I'm sorry that your dad is stuck in his own world and only sees things from his own, self-righteous perspective. It pisses me off that he can attempt to bring you down. He probably DOES know many of your "quirks." It doesn't mean he knows your whole life story.

And I wouldn't expect you to talk about your wanting to end it all with them. I'm sure they would see that you indeed had been in a position in which one might have needed to pray to God. But I also think he would just find another argument as to why you don't believe.

They can't accept the fact that they "failed you." They raised a son, teaching him all the ways of the faith, and yet he still ended up turning his back on God in the end.

"It was life, often unsatisfying, frequently cruel, usually boring, sometimes beautiful, once in awhile exhilarating." -Stephen King
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13-04-2013, 07:48 PM
RE: "...A position which required prayer."
(13-04-2013 07:41 PM)Peanut Wrote:  
(13-04-2013 07:18 PM)Misanthropik Wrote:  When the religious are looking down on you; it means you're doing something rational.

They can't accept the fact that they "failed you." They raised a son, teaching him all the ways of the faith, and yet he still ended up turning his back on God in the end.

One day, back when I was about 15, my sister was going off about one thing or another that my parents had allowed me to do or say. She was criticizing that I had expressed some opinion that she didn't agree with. She told my mom "You failed in raising your son." My mom then turned to her and said "Independence is a sign of success."

Today, they truly do believe they've failed me because I've turned away from God. They've said it outright on many occasions.

Funny how independence is a sign of success...unless they don't agree with it.

Through profound pain comes profound knowledge.
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13-04-2013, 08:08 PM
RE: "...A position which required prayer."
Dude, I dig. I've gone through times in my life where my parents shoveled the same indoctrinated responses my way. It's their default button which replaced the reasoning button that was ripped out at an early age for them.

I've asked the question before of "where do the actions of my parents end and religion start?" The best answer I got was that religion can be a cancer that spreads into everything of a persons being. It hurts, it doesn't feel right, and it's an onion that shows its layers over time. Just know you're not alone, and yes, please, get it out when you want and need to. There will always be someone here who has been in a similar situation who genuinely cares and is willing to listen.

*sends big ass hugs to you Hug *

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13-04-2013, 08:11 PM
RE: "...A position which required prayer."
Misa -- I'm so sorry you're going through that. And it's just as sad you can't share this with your dad. I would hope there wasn't anything my sons couldn't share with me...Especially as something as serious as what you've written about. It also worries me, because there are always things kids just won't share with their parents. I dunno...

Maybe they do share more than I think...I just know I didn't.

Wind's in the east, a mist coming in
Like something is brewing and about to begin
Can't put my finger on what lies in store
but I feel what's to happen has happened before...


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13-04-2013, 08:37 PM
RE: "...A position which required prayer."
Some people will do anything to rationalize their position to themselves. It's all kinds of upsetting to think he (1)assumes nothing bad has ever happened in your life (I would never assume that about anyone, everyone has had crises of one sort or another) and (2) if something bad DID happen, your resulting hopelessness would make you suddenly religious.

A different maddening thing happens with my family: they assume that too much bad shit has happened to me and that has made me "lose faith." I can't lose what I never had. They think I'm either mad at their god, or rebelling against him or something, They just can't fathom not believing at all, I suppose. They will grasp at anything, no matter how far from reality it is.

Quote:When the religious are looking down on you; it means you're doing something rational.
Quoted for truth.

When dealing with religious relatives, I just remind myself that they are under the control of a powerful delusion, and I try not to get upset with them. But this is why I'm an anti-theist: because religion can actively harm people's relationships, influence what they can share with each other, what they can safely do or say, and so on.

Example: My bitch cousin brought her husband here last weekend. I tried to introduce myself to the husband, because I'd never met him and he was in my living room. Asshole turned the other direction and refused to even say "hello" because i'm not a christian, then called his son on his cellphone and talked loudly about god and christianity. I'd have told him where to shove his god, except they were with my mom and I didn't want to upset her, and they were all in town for a funeral.
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13-04-2013, 08:43 PM
RE: "...A position which required prayer."
Okay, it's crass to focus on, but I still have to say it. Has anyone else noticed that Christians -- not all Christians but a considerable portion of them, and especially those in the follow-all-rules mindset -- are among the quickest to bear false witness?

(It's crass because that was an incredibly mature, personal, and poignant life story you've shared with us, and I find myself shamed that all I have to offer in that regard is a relatively stale and empty attaboy. What did jump out at me as something I could respond to seems so much more banal in comparison.)

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
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13-04-2013, 08:49 PM
RE: "...A position which required prayer."
(13-04-2013 08:43 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  Okay, it's crass to focus on, but I still have to say it. Has anyone else noticed that Christians -- not all Christians but a considerable portion of them, and especially those in the follow-all-rules mindset -- are among the quickest to bear false witness?

(It's crass because that was an incredibly mature, personal, and poignant life story you've shared with us, and I find myself shamed that all I have to offer in that regard is a relatively stale and empty attaboy. What did jump out at me as something I could respond to seems so much more banal in comparison.)

Not crass at all, my friend. You're very correct. It's another thing that infuriates me about how they've spoken about me to others.

Again, it shows the hypocrisy. Never bear false witness...unless it suits their cause.

Through profound pain comes profound knowledge.
Ridi, Pagliaccio, sul tuo amore infranto! Ridi del duol, che t'avvelena il cor!
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13-04-2013, 08:52 PM
RE: "...A position which required prayer."
Tough situation but I think you're strong enought to get past it based on your writtings.

Your father's response sounded like the believers adage that "there are no atheists in foxholes", which of course, isn't true.

When it comes to family disapproval, parents especially, it hurts but what's the alternative? Faking that you believe to please them?

"We're run by a pothead, a housewife, a guy that buys lube in 5kg containers, a cat and a Nazi. Oh and Dom.” - ‘Muffs

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's." - Mark Twain in Eruption
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13-04-2013, 08:59 PM
RE: "...A position which required prayer."
(13-04-2013 08:52 PM)Full Circle Wrote:  Faking that you believe to please them?

Never.

Through profound pain comes profound knowledge.
Ridi, Pagliaccio, sul tuo amore infranto! Ridi del duol, che t'avvelena il cor!
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