Dilemma, episode 2
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17-05-2012, 12:15 PM
Dilemma, episode 2
Hi there, all!
So recently I posted a dilemma I faced, and I thought a while about posting a similar situation. But here goes!

Since I was little I had a very good relationship with my grandparents.
I'll begin by taking you back ~15 years.
They lived in the same town as I did and on the way home from school, so I visited them once a week.
My grandfather's a pretty nice guy, he takes me to museums, makes me laugh, plays boardgames etc. etc.
He had to take care of my grandmother more and more because she got Parkinson's, slowly taking all her mobility and movement away.
My grandmother was quite old, nice and oldfashioned, but not conservative. Ofcourse, she was born in the 1920's so she was a housewive, she did some knitting and old rimes, but when I started doing stuff with computers and her old lady's magazine talked about computers and nerds, my grandmother would ask what a nerd was and if I was one.
She was very sweet to everyone and when anyone else like my grandfather was being a grumpy old man or whatever she'd tell him not to be an ass (loosely translated).

They were also regular churchgoƫrs. And they didn't judge my parents in any way that we decided to stop going.

However, 7 years ago, my grandmother got sick, Pneumonia I think, and died after 4 weeks.
My grandparents at that point were married for over 50 years and even though he had to take constant care of her, still loved her very much.
It really took quite something out of my grandfather. My father and uncles all stayed with him for the first few nights, even I took a shift, I was 19 at the time.
Because of their faith, they ofcourse had a christian memorial and my grandmother was buried in a christian cemetary with a place reserved for my grandfather.

Now my grandfather was also approaching 80 and my grandmother really was his voice of reason. He seemed to take everything pretty well at the beginning, but in the months and years that followed he clearly became a little more confused. Ofcourse he lost more family since then, brothers and sisters, inlaws etc, I still visited every week and I started taking care of some of his business like groceries and paperwork. And he'd show his appreciation with ordering take-out. We really had a growing relationship and I became something of a confidant to him.

(now lets get to the point)
They were living in an old folks home, he lives in a 1-person appartment there now.
And on sunday they have churchservices with various visiting preachers.
On 1 particular sunday they had a visiting preacher that harshly spread his view that heaven and hell were nonsense and that people shouldn't expect the no,sense of being reunited with family after death.
This hit him and some of his neibours very hard because it's a very sentimental subject.
They protested with the director of the home and the preacher was banned from appearing again (big deal, because the inhabitants are usually pretty dignified and 'suffer in silence').
However, it still stuck with my grandfather, it made him doubt his faith, which he held for over 80 years.
It came up in a conversation once.
Now I'm a problem-solver, and when I hear a problem I immediatly try to get rid of it.
So when my grandfather first told me he was doubting his faith, I immediatly tried to reverse that and remind him of the 80 years he already put into it etc.
However, now and then he would refer back to it again. A while ago he was doing a crossword and one of the answers was 'Richard Dawkins' and when he asked about who he was and what he did, I offered him Dawkins' book on 'modern philosophy'. He declined, but it's still lingering in his head.

Now finally my question.
Does anyone recognise a situation like this as personal experience?

And my dillema:
As a radical atheist (as Douglas Adams described it) should I try and convince my grandfather to look at atheism?
I hesitate because, as I said before, he is sometimes slightly confused and ''exploiting'' that (for lack of a better word) is just wrong.
Or, since he already put 85 years of church and prayer in, should I keep him on 'Pascal's wager'. As in: he might just as well keep going as is, because it might just pay off?

Thanks for reading this very long post, here's a potato.

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17-05-2012, 12:23 PM
RE: Dilemma, episode 2
Not telling you what you should do --

I would approach it along the lines of being honest with your beliefs and what works for you.

Like I tell everyone - just because you believe it, doesn't make it true. It works both ways. Atheists don't get brownie points for converting souls...

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17-05-2012, 12:31 PM
RE: Dilemma, episode 2
If he asks for materials to research atheism, provide them. If he doesn't want to talk about it then don't talk about it. It's his decision and the last thing he needs is something heavy like learning that everything he thought about god was wrong.

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