Disappointing your parents

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sharon
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Disappointing your parents

Post by sharon » Thu Feb 07, 2008 1:30 pm

Oh dear.

I just talked on the phone to my dad, getting up to date on family news and gossip. He asked me if I'd thought any more about taking the children to church. We last talked about this several months ago. I told him that to be honest, after loads of thought, I've given up completely on my faith. I didn't use the word atheist, that might have been too much. I acknowledged that he'd be disappointed by my position, and he really is. He sounded so sad, and said that it's my decision. I really feel bad for hurting him, and angry that he's been so steeped in the lie of religion for all his life, that he is probably truly worried for my soul or something.

What a bummer.
micfur
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Re: Disappointing your parents

Post by micfur » Thu Feb 07, 2008 4:35 pm

sharon wrote:Oh dear.

I just talked on the phone to my dad, getting up to date on family news and gossip. He asked me if I'd thought any more about taking the children to church. We last talked about this several months ago. I told him that to be honest, after loads of thought, I've given up completely on my faith. I didn't use the word atheist, that might have been too much. I acknowledged that he'd be disappointed by my position, and he really is. He sounded so sad, and said that it's my decision. I really feel bad for hurting him, and angry that he's been so steeped in the lie of religion for all his life, that he is probably truly worried for my soul or something.

What a bummer.
That's tough Sharon. There is no easy way around it really and I guess for the most part people avoid talking about it rather than confront it. Do wish there was a magic bullet sometimes to resolve situations like this. I care about atheism but it pales to nothing compared to how I care about my my family.
inedifix
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Re: Disappointing your parents

Post by inedifix » Thu Feb 07, 2008 5:33 pm

Hi Sharon,

As someone who grew up in an atheist household I can't pretend to understand your dilemma. All I'll say is that sooner or later you're going to have to use the A word. Your parents may assume you're simply experiencing a wobble, or that you are just disillusioned with the church. This may result in them feeling responsible for their grandchildren's 'spiritual well being' in the meantime. As such you should probably let them know you're now a conscientious objector as opposed to someone undergoing a crisis of faith. As long as you don't let it slide into a personal criticism of what they believe in, in the long run it will probably cause them less heartache.

J
bipedalhumanoid
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Post by bipedalhumanoid » Thu Feb 07, 2008 6:11 pm

Ah that does suck. I think my Mum is convinced that because she had me baptised it's all good. She still insists that I am a catholic because I was baptised. I'm 31 years old and have been openly calling myself an atheist since I was 14 and she still maintains that position to this day along with an healthy dose of delusion helps her to deal with it.
zhollie
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Post by zhollie » Thu Feb 07, 2008 6:37 pm

This is really a tough situation. It's so difficult to explain atheism to somebody who has only at best a superficial understanding of it. You have done the right thing though in sticking to your guns. The only person I worried about when I declared my atheism was my grandmother. She was genuinely concerned that my 'soul' was going to be lost in hell. To appease her I relented a little and eased off on broaching the subject in her presence and she contented herself with the fact that at least I had been baptised - it's her version of the hands over the ears. It was the only accommodation we could reach.


It looks like you are trapped bewteen a rock and a hard place. Just take comfort from the fact that you are doing the right thing for your children. These things usually find a way of resolving themselves amicably.
sharon
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Re: Disappointing your parents

Post by sharon » Thu Feb 07, 2008 9:46 pm

micfur wrote:That's tough Sharon. There is no easy way around it really and I guess for the most part people avoid talking about it rather than confront it. Do wish there was a magic bullet sometimes to resolve situations like this. I care about atheism but it pales to nothing compared to how I care about my my family.
Same here.
I won't lie to them. If directly asked, I will answer honestly what I think. But if they don't bring it up, I won't either.
I did tell one of them that I thought 'The God Delusion' was a fantastic book, but that person said they didn't even want to read it, that they didn't want to face the evidence, wanted to remain blissfully ignorant. I was a bit disappointed but unwilling to force the issue.

Inedifix, I don't think he thinks it's a 'wobble' since I haven't changed my position since we last discussed this 6 months ago, and again about a year ago. He did offer to take the children to church for me, but I had to explain that I actively don't want them to go, and that I'm raising them to decide for themselves.

BPH, I reckon me and my dad will just fall back into our usual way of ignoring this issue. Mostly he thinks I'm OK! Actually, I think he's very proud of me, but I was always the holy one in our house so my loss to the church stuff is all the more disappointing.

Zhollie, thanks for your kind words. I did feel so sad this afternoon. It's horrible to think that you're hurting someone you care for and respect. I know that raising me to have a deep faith was as important to my parents as raising me to be self sufficient and decent and all those other things you want for your children. I think they were wrong, but I appreciate that they really thought it was totally right.

I know I'm doing right for my children and I think that they are gaining a stronger moral grounding than I even did, based as it is on human values and respect for all people. It's a lot more honest, for one thing.

Flip this is long. That's enough of my waffle. I've just drank a glass of wine rather quickly and it's really gone to my head.
adamd164
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Post by adamd164 » Thu Feb 07, 2008 10:42 pm

Sharon, I think it's fantastic that you stood up for what you believe is right and said that you did not want the children going to mass. That's very brave and honest. It would be all too easy to just go along with it and cave in. By the way, I'm sure your father deep down does appreciate that you respect him enough to be honest with him; no one wants to be lied to.
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Post by mkaobrih » Thu Feb 07, 2008 11:20 pm

adamd164 wrote:Sharon, I think it's fantastic that you stood up for what you believe is right and said that you did not want the children going to mass. That's very brave and honest. It would be all too easy to just go along with it and cave in. By the way, I'm sure your father deep down does appreciate that you respect him enough to be honest with him; no one wants to be lied to.
Hear, Hear!
FXR
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Re: Disappointing your parents

Post by FXR » Fri Feb 08, 2008 12:52 am

sharon wrote:Oh dear.

I just talked on the phone to my dad, getting up to date on family news and gossip. He asked me if I'd thought any more about taking the children to church. We last talked about this several months ago. I told him that to be honest, after loads of thought, I've given up completely on my faith. I didn't use the word atheist, that might have been too much. I acknowledged that he'd be disappointed by my position, and he really is. He sounded so sad, and said that it's my decision. I really feel bad for hurting him, and angry that he's been so steeped in the lie of religion for all his life, that he is probably truly worried for my soul or something.

What a bummer.

A real bummer would be if you had not told him and instead engaged in the type of hypocricy that a lot of peope do. Then your children would get a kind of dual two faced way of acting by playing "good christians" for Grandad whenever they were on a visit. Like a lot of grandparents your dad would eventually have got wind of it and then when you did tell him the truth the situation would be so much worse because you'd been lying over a long period of time. Now that would be an even bigger bummer.
Human communication is a very rickety rope bridge between minds. Its too narrow to allow but a few thoughts to cross at a time. Many are lost in the chasms of noise, suspicion, misinterpretation and shooting the message through dislike of the messenger.
fintanruth
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Post by fintanruth » Fri Feb 08, 2008 1:32 am

Hi Sharon

You seem to be a very nice person but you are going to have to learn that you and your parents come from a different generation.

In the end it doesen't realy matter what you or your parents believe the end result is the same.

Just understand that human knowledge is different from one generation to the next and that your parents to a large extent brought you to where you are now.

They will never understand your beliefs, but that shouldn't stop you from loving them all the more.

Fintan

www.therealmoses.com
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