Pastor's Warning to Me & Family
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13-09-2013, 11:17 AM
RE: Pastor's Warning to Me & Family
Just read the original post. Letters like this pastor's make me chuckle at the notion that these people think we're the arrogant ones!

I would reply:

Dear Pastor,

Let me assure you that I do not hate God or Jesus. When it comes to the former, I no longer believe he exists. Coming to that realization was painful and difficult for me, but I drew an honest conclusion and would be more than happy to discuss the basis of that conclusion with you.

When it comes to Jesus, I no longer believe he is or was what the gospels claim him to be. Coming to that realization was painful and difficult, but I drew an honest conclusion and would be more than happy to discuss the basis of that conclusion with you.

If you love me, as you claim to, you will hear me out. If you are more concerned with maintaining your theology than you are with maintaining our friendship, then you will not. In this, I know I am at a disadvantage. Jesus tells us to be willing to hate our mothers, fathers and brethren when the choice is between him and them. I have every reasonable expectation that you are more willing to hate me than you are to grant me a fair hearing. Your God, after all, commands you to do so.

Nonetheless, I would appreciate it if you would refrain from the arrogance of psychoanalyzing me. When you accuse me of hate, you project your own prejudices on to me. I do not hate God and I do not hate Jesus. I do not hate Odin, Thor, Isis, Tammuz, Alexander the Great, Cleopatra or the Caesars. Whether someone is the product of myth or history, my attitude toward them cannot be characterized as hate.

If you must know what I do hate, know this: I hate arrogant presumption of the type that oozes from every sentence of your letter. You may have had wonderful intentions, but your letter is nothing but hurtful, hateful and judgmental. The veiled threat that I am endangering my loved ones by refusing to maintain my childish belief in that which I now realize to be false would carry some weight, if I had the slightest indication that there was a Deity so petty and vindictive that he would carry out that threat. As it is, having you threaten my family's well-being with your God's wrath is as intimidating as having me threaten you with a Voo-doo doll.

Don't patronize me. Don't ascribe your prejudices to me. Don't ever threaten my family again, not with a knife, not with a gun, and not with your God.

I know this comes off as impolite, and I wish I could avoid that. Know this: what you wrote to me comes off just as impolite, and infinitely more arrogant, as you believe you are doing the will of the Creator of the Universe and the Judge of my Soul. That kind of arrogance is not confronted enough by people like me, people who put faith on the scales and find it wanting. You are entitled to your faith. I am entitled to my decision to abandon what I once believed. You are entitled to try to persuade me to come back, and I am entitled to tell you just what I think of the conditional "love" you and your God offer, a love underscored by the most reprehensible and damnable threat in human history.

If you'd like to reply, I'll gladly consider what you have to say. I won't hold my breath.

Yours...





Anyway, that's how I would respond.
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13-09-2013, 12:14 PM (This post was last modified: 13-09-2013 12:18 PM by DLJ.)
RE: Pastor's Warning to Me & Family
Regarding the pastor...
Tell him you would be happy to attend services if he would reciprocate and come with you to the mosque to help you celebrate the peace, love and freedom you have found in ISLAM!

But that, I feel, is not the reason that this post is in the Personal Issues section and not the Atheism/Theism section.

The real issue is your wife and balance of power regarding the children.

On this subject, I can speak.

My ex (note, ex) was omnipotent and unwilling to compromise. Discuss... yes, but compromise... no.
Not specifically about the god-bollocks but about pretty much everything else.

This created a 'customer / supplier' relationship between us and that, and having autistic children and the financial pressure that comes with that, was a huge reason for the marriage failing. Not to mention that she was a model and hotter than KC's wife and was tempted by some of the many advances from other guys blah blah whatever.

Anyway, I feel that it is important to redress the balance.
You want her to compromise but she doesn't see it that way (please correct me if I am projecting too much).

The problem is that when you both entered into your initial marriage agreement you were both of the same mind. You have changed your position and this is seen (subconsciously, I guess) as a kind of breach of contract.

Therefore, she has the perceived and perhaps, actual moral high-ground.

You need to address the issue of your changed opinion and how that is a 'betrayal' before you can seek compromise on the detail i.e. how the children will be raised.

Your goal of peace / harmony / not rocking the boat and your tactic of keeping quiet and hoping that the modern information age will negate the nonsense engulfing your kids has also been my approach. The downside is the future conversations about "Mum, why did you lie to us and Dad, why didn't you stand up to Mum?"

I'm really looking forward to that. /sarcasm

I think I'm rambling a bit so back to the point....

Address the 'breach of faith contract' regarding the relationship with your wife first. If you can do that, all the rest (healthy discussion, compromise etc.) will follow.

Cheers

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17-09-2013, 08:55 AM
RE: Pastor's Warning to Me & Family
I've gotta say I myself could not "play church" for anyone's sake. I've told my husband (who is still a believer) that I will not attend church for any reason because I no longer espouse the beliefs taught there. I refuse to sit in a church and listen to my children being told that they'll fry forever if they fail to submit to the Celestial Dickwad. I refuse to sit there and have them think I agree with that shit. Can't do it. No way, no how.

So for me, if he started really pushing me to go, it'll be big trouble, marriage wise. For now, I read stuff like Darwin's "Origin of Species" in plain sight of the kids and if they have questions, I answer them honestly, tell them how I feel. My husband and I have an agreement - so far - that the kids will decide what they want to believe, that it is their choice, and I'm glad of that.

Anyway, Hug

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17-09-2013, 10:23 AM
RE: Pastor's Warning to Me & Family
Your preacher pal sounds like the typical idiot jesus freak. He is easily dismissed.

Your wife is a bigger problem. You need to find out if she prefers her delusions to you. Unlike the holy joe, she matters.
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17-09-2013, 05:58 PM (This post was last modified: 17-09-2013 07:48 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Pastor's Warning to Me & Family
(17-09-2013 08:55 AM)Escape Artist Wrote:  I've gotta say I myself could not "play church" for anyone's sake. I've told my husband (who is still a believer) that I will not attend church for any reason because I no longer espouse the beliefs taught there.

Nah, I ain't got no problem with attending church. There's this concept of "suspension of disbelief" which entertainers employ to engage the audience. The key is to be entertained while realizing this is just a temporary suspension of disbelief for entertainment purposes only. The pomp and circumstance and ritual and music can be quite entertaining. Uplifting even.

(17-09-2013 08:55 AM)Escape Artist Wrote:  I refuse to sit in a church and listen to my children being told that they'll fry forever if they fail to submit to the Celestial Dickwad.

Insist that you will only attend a proper Catholic Mass where the sermon is given in Latin. Wink

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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18-09-2013, 06:53 AM
RE: Pastor's Warning to Me & Family
(17-09-2013 05:58 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(17-09-2013 08:55 AM)Escape Artist Wrote:  I've gotta say I myself could not "play church" for anyone's sake. I've told my husband (who is still a believer) that I will not attend church for any reason because I no longer espouse the beliefs taught there.

Nah, I ain't got no problem with attending church. There's this concept of "suspension of disbelief" which entertainers employ to engage the audience. The key is to be entertained while realizing this is just a temporary suspension of disbelief for entertainment purposes only. The pomp and circumstance and ritual and music can be quite entertaining. Uplifting even.

(17-09-2013 08:55 AM)Escape Artist Wrote:  I refuse to sit in a church and listen to my children being told that they'll fry forever if they fail to submit to the Celestial Dickwad.

Insist that you will only attend a proper Catholic Mass where the sermon is given in Latin. Wink

I think I'm still too near to it all to attend with that kind of attitude. And even if I could manage it, I'd be sitting there knowing my kids probably think it's all real, so my sitting there would feel like silent agreement with what was being presented as truth.

Oh, I got really interested in Catholicism (and this - gasp! - coming from someone who was a Southern Baptist at the time) on my journey toward atheism and there's a lot of interesting and beautiful stuff about it. Their churches are absolutely gorgeous. And Gregorian chant? Nice. Thumbsup

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19-09-2013, 11:06 PM
RE: Pastor's Warning to Me & Family
I like TwoCultSurvivor's response, but another possibility is this:
"I thought for a long time that I had lost faith and that God most certainly did not exist. However, after leaving this church, I now recognize that it was the clergy there that poisoned my soul. I am now attending a new congregation and am quite happy there."

Good for a laugh, anyway.

Losing your faith can be a huge change, for you and also for those around you. The pastor probably doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things as his relationship with you was held together only with one string, which was severed when you abandoned God. These relationships are almost always conditional on your continued obedience to the church. However, as much as his letter may have seemed like a thinly veiled threat, I don't believe it was meant to be malicious. (I may be wrong, obviously, you know him better than I do.) It sounds as though he has an earnest concern from you and the only way he can express that is from his pastor platform. He can't relate to you anymore as a person.

As far as your wife goes, try to tread lightly on these issues. I would suggest sitting down and having a nice long chat with her about how the family dynamics can change to accommodate your new viewpoints. Maybe it is best for the kids to attend church because it is what is familiar to them and gives them a social outlet and moral guidance, but you shouldn't have to lie about your beliefs to them. When they ask a question that your wife would typically respond to from a religious perspective, maybe the diplomatic approach would be to give multiple viewpoints and allow them to decide for themselves what they think. "Mommy believes God is responsible for this, I believe it is a product of evolution, and (insert random third viewpoint for balance, and because things sound better in threes). What do you believe?"

Another thing to keep in mind is that you can't project your own spiritual journey onto your wife. You may feel that her beliefs are invalid and silly because you now see that what you believed all those years was invalid and silly, but don't let that allow you to become condescending and disrespectful of her beliefs. If she had turned into a non-believer during the time that you yourself were a good little Christian boy, it likely would have been difficult for you to come to terms with. Be open and honest with her, and make sure she knows that you still love her, value her opinions, and respect her beliefs. Any anti-God talk will likely make her feel alienated and perhaps even betrayed.

Good luck. Hug

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who has said it- not even if I have said it- unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. - Buddha
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