Need Advice on prosletyzing grandparent
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24-10-2014, 09:49 PM
Need Advice on prosletyzing grandparent
Hello all,

I am looking for some good advice in an upcoming encounter that has ramped up my anxiety this weekend. Just some background on myself , I'm a 42 year old guy who grew up in a very religious protestant family (my mom was even church secretary). I know I began doubting very early in my teens but went along for a long time because most of my friends were associated with our youth group. Even after moving out on my own it took me a long while to come to grips with what I knew was true, that I was an atheist. It has only been within the past 3 or 4 years that I feel the guilt, pressure and yoke of religion has been lifted from my life.

Then tonight happened. My parents came over to pick up both my children daughter (13) and son ( to have them spend the night over the weekend. This has happened several times before and those visits would include them taking my children to church on Sunday morning. But this time was different, before my mom got in the car to leave she pulled me aside and said she wanted to give my daughter a letter she wrote but wanted me to read it first, she plans on giving it to her when they drop her off with my ok.

I read the letter and it is her story about her childhood and how she found Christ and how it has made her life better. In it she tells my daughter that she is of the "age of responsibility" and understands what sin is and should start reading the bible and think about coming closer to god. I know in my mom's mind she is just doing what she thinks is right.

The complication is I am not open about my atheism other than with my wife and a few close friends. I have kept this from my parents thinking that I was sparing my mother heartache of having a son who was a disbeliever. My mother knows I do not attend church or take my children but I am sure she just thinks I am a lapsed Christian and has no clue of my true feelings.

I have while raising my children promised myself that I would teach them right and wrong without the fear of burning in hell. I have not promoted or put down religion in front of them, I want them to have the choice that I feel I didn't have which is to make a reasonable decision based on facts not pressure from parents. I can say I have two of the most kind hearted children that I love dearly and they are the center of my life.

After that long winded story I am wanting to know what is the best way to approach this. Number one should I even allow my mother to give my daughter the letter. If I do should I sit down with my daughter and let her know how I feel. My daughter is very smart but I do see the same seeds of anxiety that I have struggled with in my life, recently I found her in tears because of news reports of ebola and fear that it would spread to our family. So as you can see I am even reluctant to let her read the letter on the chance it is going to cause unnecessary fears and anxiety.

Being realistic I knew this day would come when I would have to let my kids know how I feel about the question of God but I was always hoping it would be because they naturally had questions , not having my hand forced by someone else's need to evangelize.

If I do allow her to read it how should I approach a discussion with her? Thanks you so much for taking the time to read this and any help you could provide.

swizzy72
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25-10-2014, 02:55 PM
RE: Need Advice on prosletyzing grandparent
Welcome to our community.

Maybe ask her to give you the letter and say you'll give it to your daughter. Before you let her read it, explain to her what you believe and why you feel that your mom is well-intentioned but you believe is very different. Also explain why you don't share these feelings with your parents out of love and respect. Smile

Then let her read it and ask her for her thoughts.


But as if to knock me down, reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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25-10-2014, 03:05 PM
RE: Need Advice on prosletyzing grandparent
(25-10-2014 02:55 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  Welcome to our community.

Maybe ask her to give you the letter and say you'll give it to your daughter. Before you let her read it, explain to her what you believe and why you feel that your mom is well-intentioned but you believe is very different. Also explain why you don't share these feelings with your parents out of love and respect. Smile

Then let her read it and ask her for her thoughts.

Worship Slaves

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25-10-2014, 03:46 PM
RE: Need Advice on prosletyzing grandparent
Your mom may think that 13 is old enough but we all know she is but child and easily confused at this age. Maybe you can tell your mom that the proper age is 18?

“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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25-10-2014, 04:25 PM
RE: Need Advice on prosletyzing grandparent
(25-10-2014 03:46 PM)Full Circle Wrote:  Your mom may think that 13 is old enough but we all know she is but child and easily confused at this age. Maybe you can tell your mom that the proper age is 18?

Yeah, whether the religious people, and thirteen year olds, realise it or not, they probably don't have enough life experience to make an educated decision on something like picking a religion.

Of course, any later than 13 and indoctrination begins to drastically decline in effectiveness.

OP, I think you might be best served if you ask to deliver the letter yourself and discuss it with your kid in private, ask them what they think.
Alternatively, though this may have considerable fallout, you might tell your mother what you told us; you want your kids to decide for their own in their own time without undue influence.

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25-10-2014, 04:40 PM
RE: Need Advice on prosletyzing grandparent
(24-10-2014 09:49 PM)swizzy72 Wrote:  I read the letter and it is her story about her childhood and how she found Christ and how it has made her life better. In it she tells my daughter that she is of the "age of responsibility" and understands what sin is and should start reading the bible and think about coming closer to god.

Regardless of whether she thinks that she is doing right or wrong, it's undeniable that she is trying to influence your daughter. If she wasn't she wouldn't be wanting to hand over a letter.

So why now? Why 13? It's an impressionable age. She knows this. She's putting social and emotional pressure on your daughter to conform in order to please her. Don't underestimate how strong this influence is.

If you don't have the letter over then your mother will try to influence your daughter in other ways. She won't be able to help herself.

Personally I would come out to her and tell her exactly how you feel about religion and how damaging it is. People are generally wary about treading on other people's methods in raising their own kids. Even grandparents if you really put your foot down.
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26-10-2014, 12:16 PM
RE: Need Advice on prosletyzing grandparent
Thanks all for the replies it gives me a lot to think about. Smile
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27-10-2014, 02:06 PM
RE: Need Advice on prosletyzing grandparent
This may be a good time to introduce your daughter to darkmatter2525's youtube channel. My daughter loved viewing it at her age and she is agnostic/atheist, she loves to ask me about the nutty stuff she hears at church. I don't go to church, but she has friends that go, so she goes. I am more than happy to blast the stupid stuff that she hears there. I've told her to go to church and take notes, come back home and I will gladly dissect and discredit every bit of stupidity that's imparted from the pulpit.

Once a child knows that it's all right to question, the skeptical mind comes naturally to them. It's not hard to bust out laughing when your kid comes home asking about the book of Job. It also makes for some fun conversations about mythology, epistemology, superstition, etc.

Don't be afraid to openly display the truth to your kids. You're knowledge and skeptical attitude comes through as the honest truth, the bizarre logic-twisting of Christian thought is simply viewed as stupidity by a mind that hasn't been indoctrinated in it.

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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