Talking to my Religious Mother
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24-08-2013, 10:39 AM
Talking to my Religious Mother
When my mother first found out I was an atheist she sent me a long rant on Facebook about how disappointed she was, and how I was blind if I couldn't see "god's loving hand" in my dad's recovery (He was recently hospitalised for lithium poisoning, but is ok now).
Since then, when I posted something about atheism she would send me more messages, sometimes texts, about how she didn't believe this, christians don't think that, god doesn't actually hate women, if I'm confused why didn't I ask my father (he's a minister).

It got too much. I realised that she was expecting more respect from me than I was getting from her, so I blocked her and defriended her. This made her send me texts asking why, saying "why does questioning your beliefs warrant such a response?" Dodgy After a long argument we agreed to have a face-to-face talk about faith and my beliefs.

I know it's irrational, but I still love my mother and don't want to lose her from my life. How can I convince her to let me live in peace? How can I properly explain that I'm not trying to spite her or god, I just don't believe? I was thinking of showing her something from The Atheist Experience but since the episodes are so long it's hard to figure out what is the best thing to show her. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

“Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?”
― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
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24-08-2013, 11:42 AM
RE: Talking to my Religious Mother
Good luck with that . She is doing this out of love , not wanting you to burn in hell. I would just be grateful she still cares and hasn't disowned you and try to ignore the constant harangue .

Never read health books. You could die of a misprint.

Mark Twain
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24-08-2013, 12:14 PM
RE: Talking to my Religious Mother
Quote:How can I convince her to let me live in peace?

You probably can't. At some level you'll have to adjust to the reality that she prefers her invisible friend and his fairy tales to the reality of her own family. It can be crushing to the ego to make that realization but you also can't overlook the possibility that she is using emotional blackmail on you.

"To thine own self be true," to quote the Bard.
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24-08-2013, 12:54 PM
RE: Talking to my Religious Mother
I'm in the same boat with my mother. Dunno what the answer is, but as others have mentioned, she's most likely concerned that you'll end up poaching in Hades or otherwise disenfranchised by God.

When my mom takes a verbal jab at me about my atheism, I simply dodge/parry it and move on to another subject. At this stage in her life (mid-70s) I'm not sure what would change her mind about God or make her feel better about my deconversion. I suppose if I started going to a Universalist/Unitarian church she'd be satisfied on some level...
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24-08-2013, 01:39 PM (This post was last modified: 24-08-2013 01:49 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Talking to my Religious Mother
My Baptist mother keeps praying for my godless soul but we rarely discuss religion anymore. Last time she brought it up I told her that Karl Barth, one of the most prominent and prolific theologians ever, put forth the proposition that Jesus was the embodiment of both God's election of all of humanity and God's rejection of human sin. It doesn't matter what I or anybody else believes, we're all going to heaven. To think otherwise trivializes the Christ. ... She still prays for my heathen godless soul, God bless her, but at least I don't hear about it much anymore.

Don't worry
If there's hell below
We're all
Gonna go. Big Grin




Breathing - it's more art than science.
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24-08-2013, 02:16 PM
RE: Talking to my Religious Mother
"How can I properly explain that I'm not trying to spite her or god, I just don't believe?"

You can't! It's weird, but you can't!

This ridiculous belief is ingrained in her since her earliest childhood. It was there for me too, my parents were believers in the Catholic faith. But rarely attended church. Again a strange situation, in my mind. If I were religious, my butt would be in church every time the doors opened. But they seemed to have no doubt about it! So, there was no need for them to contribute. God was real and I was a fool for rejecting the idea! We had many discussions and I never won.

I've had friends and relatives who jump from one religion to another, because of their confusion. It never occurs to them that the whole idea is untenable. They find some quote in the bible that leads them to believe these other guys have the answer!

I think it's the fear of death. I have stated, many times, on these forums, that I am afraid of death myself. Think about it a lot! Find myself saying "God help me!" when I'm in trouble.

He's not out there and some of us know it. But sometimes we reach for that safety valve. Some can't let that go. Can't accept it.

So! To be honest. At times, I try to keep my mouth shut!
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24-08-2013, 02:44 PM (This post was last modified: 24-08-2013 02:48 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Talking to my Religious Mother
(24-08-2013 02:16 PM)Ameron1963 Wrote:  I think it's the fear of death. I have stated, many times, on these forums, that I am afraid of death myself. Think about it a lot!

I got one metaphysical job and it's to not be afraid of not being. That's it. One job.

(24-08-2013 02:16 PM)Ameron1963 Wrote:  He's not out there and some of us know it. But sometimes we reach for that safety valve. Some can't let that go. Can't accept it.

So! To be honest. At times, I try to keep my mouth shut!

Me too. 'tain't nun their business anyway. And 'tain't nun my business to correct them. .

Breathing - it's more art than science.
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24-08-2013, 04:33 PM
RE: Talking to my Religious Mother
I had a brief experience with something similar to this four years ago in the 8th grade. My mother found out I was atheist and would continually try and convert me. I eventually just went to pretending I had been converted back to Christianity to make things easier. Since you don't live with your mom, you're in a much better position than I ever was.

Maybe I'm not the best person for advice for this being only 17, but I feel that living in such a heavily religious area I know how Christians' and other theists' minds work. She'll never be completely okay with you being atheist, but she can learn to respect it. Think about it from her perspective, though. Her religion tells her that upon her death she and all other Christians will go to heaven to be reunited with their loved ones. Everyone else will go to hell. In her mind, she won't get to see you again in heaven, and you'll be condemned to an eternity of hellfire. It comes from a place of concern about you and wanting what she thinks is the best for you. She's scared for you. Now I'm not saying that by her believing this, she can disrespect your lack of religious beliefs, but it helps to understand her position.

Now, moving on to what I think might be the best approach. Start by telling her that you did not take your de-conversion lightly. The best way of helping her understand that you aren't trying to spit her or god is by finding something about Christianity that you like. Tell her that you understand where she is coming from and you appreciate her concern, but that her trying to convert you back is only driving you further into atheism. Even if you know you will never convert back, tell her that the best thing for her to do is to let you be. That if there really is a god it's something you'll need to come to realize on your own. Tell her you respect her religious beliefs, and you think it's admirable how committed to them she is but it's just not the right path for you. I don't know how well any of that will work but that's the best I can think that. Some of it might be white lies, but it's better for you to say a few little white lies in this discussion and still be able to have a relationship with your mom than be fully honest and have her no longer be a part of your life. All of what I told you is what I'm planning to tell my mom when I tell her that I am atheist several years down the road. I wish you the best.
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24-08-2013, 04:51 PM
RE: Talking to my Religious Mother
You don't need to discuss it with her. You also don't need to let her see the things you post on facebook. Block her so she doesn't see your posts. It'll be much better for your relationship.
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25-08-2013, 05:30 AM
RE: Talking to my Religious Mother
Thanks for the advice. I guess I was so caught up in what she had done to me, I forgot what her parents did to her. I understand the fear of hell all too well. I used to lie awake at night thinking my friends were going there.

I do feel like I need to discuss things with her, though. We didn't leave on a happy note and I'd rather not leave it that way.

“Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?”
― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
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