Poll: If you had it to do over, would you come out athiest again?
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Fight or Flight?
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26-12-2015, 01:12 AM
Fight or Flight?
I have been listening to Seth for a couple of years now and it was enough therapy to get me by. Until today.

I am a strict rationalist having given up my protestant upbringing gradually over the last few years. My wife is mostly agnostic and we have agreed to raise our children in a secular household due to my concern about indoctrination. I believe it was my upbringing that made my de-conversion so guilt ridden and painful and I do not wish it on my children.

Anyhow, my mother-in-law is a died-in-the-wool Roman Catholic. She goes to church at least twice a week, volunteers with the church and denies evolution. She has been on religious pilgrimages in the Middle East where she claims to have witnessed an exorcism. You can imagine why I have not come out as an atheist (rationalist) to her, although I suspect she has a pretty good idea that something is up between me and the invisible man in the sky. I have delayed in doing so for a few reasons:

Why breach the peace?
Will it do more harm than good?
Why is it any of her business?

So Nana came to our house to spend the Christmas Holidays with her grandchildren. On day 1, December 23rd, she got our 4 year old daughter help her stick a magnetic nativity scene on our refrigerator and then proceeded to give her a lesson on what it meant. I began to protest to my wife and she said, "What's one day?" And I digressed, woefully. After all, it's Christmas.

On day 2, Christmas Eve, Nana was going to mass and expected that she would be able to take our daughter with her. Much to my dismay, this happened on a previous Sunday and my daughter quickly agreed as she is always rewarded by a post-service doughnut. I chose to let it slide that day because the woman had been kind enough to watch our children for us while my wife and I enjoyed my staff holiday function the night before. So on Christmas Eve, I began to get agitated again until I had an epiphany. I knew my daughter liked Christmas movies more than doughnuts and I bribed her appropriately with my favorite animated holiday film, "The Polar Express." Nana went to church by herself. That was a close one.

Today while the kids were tearing into the pile under our tree (we keep up the gift giving tradition because hey, it's fun) we heard a noise that sounded like two light taps on the front door. It didn't sound quite right to me, so I didn't get up right away. After some prodding from the other two adults in the room, I got up and looked out. No one was there. Then, I saw my mother-in-law's face do the thing it does when she gets schizophrenic. She didn't say it, but I could tell where her mind was going. She immediately "reasoned" the strange sound we heard was her dead husband stating his presence to his family at Christmas. The sound was immediately followed by a faint ringing of a telephone however our phone was right in front of us. Crazily, I chose to reason the sounds were coming from our computer in the other room that was streaming Christmas carols on Youtube.

To make matters worse, having heard this story, her son called her this evening with excitement in his voice. He insisted we put him on speaker and then, nearly in tears, told how he had been at his aunt's for dinner that day and the doorbell rang 6 times while they were eating. No one was at the door. Of course, this was definitely "dad" sending a message to his family at Christmas and not a malfunction of an ancient, battery operated, wireless doorbell.

As I am hearing this, I am watching the face of my wife and her mother and I realize they are actually buying it! Part of me wanted to let them have their moment with their father, but a much larger part of me was screaming, "What the
f#$%". I could not believe the woman I married would be such a sucker! And I was furious at my mother-in-law in putting this rubbish in her head.

So it seems I'm at an impasse with old Mi-Ma and I don't want to alienate my wife. She has been very tolerant of my "transition" and surprisingly accommodating as it relates to our children. I am wondering if anyone can relate and maybe share their experience with "coming out" to family. Would you do it again or if you had the choice would you maintain the status quo?
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26-12-2015, 03:20 AM (This post was last modified: 26-12-2015 03:23 AM by EvolutionKills.)
RE: Fight or Flight?
(26-12-2015 01:12 AM)Jolly Roger Wrote:  Would you do it again or if you had the choice would you maintain the status quo?

There is no choice to be made. Belief is not a choice, it is an obligate condition based upon my current knowledge and understanding of the evidence. To pretend to be otherwise is intellectually dishonest.

While arguments can be had and made for when and were to be out an proud, never let the preservation of the status quo silence you. Maintaining the status quo kept generation upon generations of non-heterosexual people in the proverbial (and sometimes quite literal) closet, and the world was worse off for it. If someone has a problem with you being intellectually honest, and doing what you think is in the best interest of your children; that's their problem, not yours.

You don't have to go looking for a fight, but you needn't back down from it either. The best thing to happen to the LGBT community was the idea of being 'out and proud', to show the majority that the other is not to be feared, because they already knew them. The other were already their coworkers, their idols, their leaders, and their family; and had been for years uncounted. Being out, open, and honest is the best policy; because it robs the power of anonymity, and thus undermines the ignorance and bigotry built upon it.

So if you get a "Merry Christmas!" at the mall, it's fair to respond "And to you as well'. If you retort with "It's happy holidays!", then you're kinda being a dick. But if someone in your family is pressuring you into letting them start to indoctrinate your children (innocuously or otherwise), it's both perfectly acceptable and respectable to decline. You need not provide an explanation, but something as simple as "That's not our tradition" or "That's not something we believe in" is more than sufficient. An explanation for your family's secularism is not needed, nor is demand for one warranted; much like how your mother-in-law doesn't need to justify her Christmas traditions to you. Keep in mind that the very notion of needing to justify popular Christian traditions during Christmas is ludicrous, and only exemplifies the social double standard at work here; and it's one that will continue to have power only so long people fear breaking the status que.

What you do is ultimately up to you, but if there's one single piece of advice you take away from me, it should be this.

Never let the preservation of the status quo silence you.

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26-12-2015, 08:07 AM
RE: Fight or Flight?
Then again - you can use the dumb dogma against the "believer".

NO where in the Catholic dogma is there ANY mention of "ghosts" of humans that lived, then died...

Only the "holy ghost" -- that mysterious cock-knocker who goes about inseminating young middle eastern virgins...... (fucking pervert)...


Tell her you want to see the verse where it says "Grampa can hang around the house, and push doorbells after he croaks".....


Fucking troglodytes need a kick in the ass every so often...


I'm a double atheist. I don't believe in your god or your politician.
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26-12-2015, 08:43 AM
RE: Fight or Flight?
The peace is her’s to keep.

You, as the father, expressed your desires on how your children are to be brought up.
If she won’t honor your wishes you then need to enforce them.

Seems to me that nothing could be more important than your children’s upbringing and if there is any moment when you should be “breaching the peace” it is on this topic.

“More harm than good” can only happen if you don’t put an end to this meddling.

She feels it is her business to “save” her grandkids, her religion demands her to act. This isn’t a fight that is going to go away so I think you better get used to putting a stop to this nonsense before it gets totally out of hand.

As for the ghost stuff...yeah, having their mother and grandmother saying this kind of stuff is really disturbing. I think a long conversation with your wife is in order. If she believes it there’s not much you can do about it but you can certainly try and convince here not to share ghost stories with the kids.

Good luck, be firm.

ps and as EvolutionKills said, “Never let the preservation of the status quo silence you."

“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
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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26-12-2015, 09:12 AM
RE: Fight or Flight?
So, your father-in-law came from the great beyond to play "ring and run"? Wow.

Oh, and the Catholic Church does not deny evolution so not sure what her issue is there. You may want to point out to her that the Pope is infallible and he accepts evolution (although he claims it was guided by god, but whatever).

As for your basic issue - I totally get the "keeping the peace" mantra. I do a bit of this myself with my parents. My parents are not religious at all but they believe in certain customs and observations for cultural reasons. I generally don't honor them but I also don't throw it in their face. My wife and I have a great relationship with my parents and I see no reason to upset them. That said, they also don't cross lines and involve my kids in things I don't want them involved with. I think that is where I'd probably have to draw the line. I know it's not easy but I think that is where you have to take your stand. If you don't want your daughter going to church, you should say so.

I know I was born and I know that I'll die. The in between is mine.
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26-12-2015, 09:39 AM
RE: Fight or Flight?
If I recall right in "How to raise a Freethinker" It suggests you show the child all avenues. Explain your postion, and how you came to it. Then tell them that Grandma has a diffrent postion and you should ask her the same questions. If you feel your answer arn't satified we'll look into them deeper together.

I've also heard of some Atheist parents taking their kids to diffrent religous temples. Such as a Hindu temple, Sinagog, etc etc.

If the question is what should I do about my Wife?

All I tell what I told my wife when she thought our new house was haunted. List of explanations why that couldn't be.

One night we heard voices of people talking very clearly in the next room. I got up to investigate because we thought someone had broken in. Some how our computer turned itself on. Turned the speakers way up and started playing Youtube videos. I couldn't explain it. This happen consistently for 3 nights. Even I began to wonder what the fuck is happening. What I deduced was a power surge or bad wireing in our wall. My wife thought it was a Ghost. I couldn't explain why it began to play the videos. Also I had my computer set to "sleep mode" When I turn it completely off we didn't have the problem. Later that week I was on my computer and it just shut off. I tried resetting it but no power was going to it. I opened it up and replaced the power supple. It started to work again.

After words I became clear to me that my power supple had gone bad. And it made sense that it would be shorting out and making my computer act funny. With the new power supplie in we haven't had a single problem. I made sure I told my wife, because if I hadn't she would have kept thinking we had a ghost.

We had a coulpe of weird occurance before that but since that time we haven't had a "ghost" event since.

“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” Plato
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26-12-2015, 09:54 AM
RE: Fight or Flight?
I kept thinking about your problem and I want to rephrase/restate something for you to contemplate.

If you made Nana aware of your wishes of not to indoctrinate the kids then:

Nana made a calculated decision that dismissing your wishes and risking your disapproval and breaching the peace was worth it.

Put the onus back on Nana, especially if your wife brings up the “peace” thing.
“She knew our wishes, she shit all over them, her fault.”

Again, good luck.

ps I think you and your wife need to put up a united front.

“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
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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