I need some help.
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
13-07-2015, 10:53 PM
I need some help.
I'm only still discovering my own belief system (or lack thereof) - how far it goes and all of that. But I'm comfortable with the idea of atheism, and for once I can believe in something without having to compromise by accepting bits of a philosophy by "faith", with no real proof that they are reality.

My trouble is with my mother.

Context: when I was little, she didn't like religion. She became softer to it as I got older. She was never religious, but she has always had this superstitious notion of "God" that is not grounded in any sort of religion or philosophy. She's never read the Bible, you get what I'm saying.

I haven't actually been to a church service in months. I haven't been committed to any real religious system for longer than that. My mother has noticed, and she doesn't like it.

She wanted to sit down with me this evening. I talked to her about school and updated her on how my grad school research is going. Then, she decided to talk to me about "the religion thing".

My mom sees my leaving religion as a negative thing. She asked me a few days ago if I could ever be an atheist - I responded with "I don't know." She didn't like that. She then did something that is totally out of character for her - she handed me a list of pastors in my town she thought I should talk to.

I tried to explain to her where I am with things, without giving details that I'm uncomfortable revealing. She then told me how I made her feel stupid, swore at me and stormed off for a cigarette. (She's very easily offended).

I can't believe this. Why would she go to such trouble, when really, she's never cared that much?

She told me how she didn't understand how I would make claims that Joel Osteen and Evangelical Protestantism were false (based on the teachings of my Church - Eastern Orthodoxy), but now I'm saying I don't want anything to do with religion.

Talking to her stressed me out. As she spoke, I had flashbacks of the worst moments for me - being told I had to be celibate forever, being given the phone number of someone who could "straighten me out", being told I'd be in danger if I told anyone I was gay, being told I wasn't worthy to receive communion because I wasn't sorry enough for one sin, etc.

She has no idea. It pisses me off so much that she thinks she knows anything about what is going on in my head. There is so much that I can't tell her.

I told her that some people just believe in religions because it's comfortable to them, but I don't want comfort, I want truth. She didn't see what's wrong with people being religious just for comfort.

There is no reasoning with her. I've told her that I don't want to talk about this with her, and that ended things.

I'm just so upset. I'm thinking about how hurt I have been by religion - much more than I had thought. I have things to work through that I had been repressing because I was told to.

Honestly, I want to punch the wall. Who the hell does she think she is?

I'd love some support, y'all. I think an inflammatory, anti-religion lecture is also in order. Oh, and coffee.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like FreeThinker1994's post
14-07-2015, 10:08 AM
RE: I need some help.
Sounds like she is doing the parent privilege thing_i.e. she thinks because she is the parent, she knows best even if she has not dealt with religion in a manner as deep or as introspective as you have (hence the making her feel stupid comment, because really, she has been stupid about it). Her comments about being celibate forever, in danger, etc. also reflect a lack of depth of thought about being gay.

It seems to me that if she is not going to accept you for who you are, you are provably best just cutting her off and telling her that if she does not accept what you are, that you are not going to talk to her about these issues. You can still have a relationship with her, but avoid these discussions that don't do anything for you. At the end of the day, she has to grow up and treat you like the adult that you are and show respect for the person that you are. While getting that from our parents is always important, there are other places you can get that.

Bty, congratulations on working on your graduate degree. You are on your way to making yourself an educated and contributing member of society. What else would a parent want?
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
14-07-2015, 10:22 AM
RE: I need some help.
(13-07-2015 10:53 PM)FreeThinker1994 Wrote:  ...I don't want comfort, I want truth.

You're Dogdamned right!

I don't think you need our support or permission or anything else. All on your own, you've managed to distill everything down to a very poignant phrase, a perfect summary of the skeptic's mindset.

The great thing is, it is comforting, in its way. If you poke around the board even briefly, you'll see that many of us have learned that the stark, infinite, and careless "bleakness" of the universe is itself a thing of beauty and comfort... and when coupled with knowing the truth and no longer fooling yourself, it provides a social and personal freedom beyond description. Might be hard for you to imagine, yet, but please trust us, it's there.

Maybe that should be the TTA slogan: "We don't want comfort, we want truth."

(Anyone here know Latin? I'd be willing to bet that phrase sounds cool in Latin.)

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes RocketSurgeon76's post
14-07-2015, 10:53 AM
RE: I need some help.
Speaking as a Mom here, you should probably try to (gently) understand what she's afraid of: you say that "she says that I made her feel stupid", and then she stormed off. Could she feel threatened by your status as a budding intellectual, that as you get "smarter" you'll have less time or respect for her?

I bet that on one hand, she's super proud of you for getting a graduate degree, but on the other, super afraid that you'll leave her behind. Her reaction to your atheism may just be a symptom of a deeper fear, the fear of you pulling away and abandoning her. She may also have received very negative information/indoctrination about the kind of people atheists are, that they are "godless" and therefore morally bankrupt.

I would try reassuring her, tell her that you still strive to be a good person, describe your true values, especially values that you both hold in common. After all, most parents view religion as a vehicle for propagating their values; so if these haven't changed, why worry about the vehicle? Set aside your intellectual differences for now and focus on the emotional connection.

Of course, I don't know you or your mother, so I could be completely wrong, but if you let her know you love and respect her, even if you don't share her beliefs, you really can't go wrong.
Good luck and best wishes

Your faith is not evidence, your opinion is not fact, and your bias is not wisdom
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Reducetarian's post
14-07-2015, 10:57 AM
RE: I need some help.
Hello! Big Grin

Hug
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
14-07-2015, 11:38 AM
RE: I need some help.
I'm sorry she's taking such an oppositional view of this issue, when IMO she should be congratulating you for thinking for yourself and having the guts to move away from your religion.

Do you live in the same house? I think that can make it harder for a parent to let go of the feeling of authority over a child who's become an adult. At any rate, I'd recommend the two of you agree to discuss your atheism at some point in the future, maybe six months from now, when the upset feelings will have had time to settle and she will have been able to see that making this philosophical change has had no negative effects on your personality.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like julep's post
14-07-2015, 04:34 PM
RE: I need some help.
(14-07-2015 10:08 AM)Iñigo Wrote:  Sounds like she is doing the parent privilege thing_i.e. she thinks because she is the parent, she knows best even if she has not dealt with religion in a manner as deep or as introspective as you have (hence the making her feel stupid comment, because really, she has been stupid about it). Her comments about being celibate forever, in danger, etc. also reflect a lack of depth of thought about being gay.

It seems to me that if she is not going to accept you for who you are, you are provably best just cutting her off and telling her that if she does not accept what you are, that you are not going to talk to her about these issues. You can still have a relationship with her, but avoid these discussions that don't do anything for you. At the end of the day, she has to grow up and treat you like the adult that you are and show respect for the person that you are. While getting that from our parents is always important, there are other places you can get that.

Bty, congratulations on working on your graduate degree. You are on your way to making yourself an educated and contributing member of society. What else would a parent want?

Thank you very much!

My struggle with her is that she's not very intellectual (and I, being 21 years old, sound very arrogant saying that). It's just difficult when I talk to her, because I know she sees me and this sort of idealism I have as being very naive. But I have real questions and real struggles. I'm sure I'll simmer down when I'm older, but for now, to just accept something without question isn't going to work for me.

She hasn't lately, but sometimes she'll turn to me and say "I just don't get the whole gay thing."

She "doesn't get" a lot about me, and that's fine. But I don't like feeling as though I have to censer myself around her so I'm not seen as naive or whatever. It gets annoying.

I live on campus during the semester (I'm home for summer, and am moving back in about a month). I get so used to being myself and not worrying what others think, I often come home and feel out of place, because my mother hasn't been with me as I've struggled and grown the past four or five months.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
14-07-2015, 04:37 PM
RE: I need some help.
(14-07-2015 10:22 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  
(13-07-2015 10:53 PM)FreeThinker1994 Wrote:  ...I don't want comfort, I want truth.

You're Dogdamned right!

I don't think you need our support or permission or anything else. All on your own, you've managed to distill everything down to a very poignant phrase, a perfect summary of the skeptic's mindset.

The great thing is, it is comforting, in its way. If you poke around the board even briefly, you'll see that many of us have learned that the stark, infinite, and careless "bleakness" of the universe is itself a thing of beauty and comfort... and when coupled with knowing the truth and no longer fooling yourself, it provides a social and personal freedom beyond description. Might be hard for you to imagine, yet, but please trust us, it's there.

Maybe that should be the TTA slogan: "We don't want comfort, we want truth."

(Anyone here know Latin? I'd be willing to bet that phrase sounds cool in Latin.)

Thank you! I mean, it's not the easiest thing to give up ideas that informed who I am so heavily in my formative years, but I feel so much more free. Maybe I shouldn't have been open with my mother about my lack of beliefs, but it's difficult when she's always asking me why I am not going to Church and all. I didn't know she cared that much, and I wonder why, seeing as how she's not religious.

P.S.

"Ne dederis mihi consolationem, sed veritas."
"Don't give me comfort, but truth"
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes FreeThinker1994's post
14-07-2015, 04:39 PM
RE: I need some help.
This poem really speaks to where I am right now...

[Image: tumblr_nrgjzoY4pq1uaziwao1_500.png]
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 3 users Like FreeThinker1994's post
15-07-2015, 09:32 AM
RE: I need some help.
You sound like a pretty awesome kid, FreeThinker. Don't let the parents get you down. You wouldn't believe the shit I had to go through with mine, and I'm straight! (They thought I wasn't for a while, going so far as to call a girl I tried to introduce them to, with whom I'd been living almost 2 years at that point, my "beard", because some preacher told them that atheism would turn me gay!) Rolleyes

We're okay, now, but it took from my deconversion when I was ages 17-22 (17, when I first rejected Christianity, and 22, at which point I gave up on social-acceptance/appeasement attempts entirely and realized I was actually just an atheist) until when I was nearly 30 before we spoke on any serious level. The biggest part of it in my case was that my parents are both highly educated (mom, in particular, is a tenured professor and department head at an Evangelical Christian private university called Louisiana College, retiring this summer, which made her sense of self-righteousness and rightness much worse, and my youthful "arrogance", in her view, intolerable and worthy of deep disrespect toward me in return), or mis-educated, and it exacerbated the problems you describe above. Sad

The good news is, I felt freer than ever, though sad at how "lost and clueless" my parents were. It took exploding the whole family and nearly losing touch with all three of their children before they realized their insane ideas might be The Problem, not their misguided/defiant children, as the preachers were telling them. My siblings and I are all really great people, and all have differing but free-thinking religious philosophies. My brother's remains my favorite... he claims he's an "Ijustdontgiveafuckist". Direct quote.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 3 users Like RocketSurgeon76's post
Post Reply
Forum Jump: