My Mom Thinks I’m Crazy

If you’ve been following my story over the past month, then you’ll know that my proverbial closet door kind of got bust open by a leaked secret and that after turmoil and hard decisions, I ended up telling my mom I’m an atheist. On the chance that you indeed have been reading my story, then you are probably curious about what happened next.

At the end of my first coming-out conversation with my mom, I let her know that I was more than open to this being an on-going dialogue rather than an awkward topic that never comes up. So about a week ago, we had somewhat of a follow-up conversation where she asked me all of the questions (and reprimands and the like) that she had thought of and written down over two weeks since our first talk. Here I’ll outline some of her main points and why she thinks I’m the crazy one, which show that rather than a true dialogue, it was quite the lopsided interaction, loaded with misunderstanding.

Internet “whackos”
I’ll start off by being blunt with you: my mom doesn’t just think I’m crazy; she thinks you are, too. I didn’t tell her about this blog, but in coming out I had to mention that revealing your atheism to religious parents is a really big deal, and it’s a common thing for my generation to endure. I told her how often people are really terrified to do it, as I was, and some people even risk being thrown out of the house or losing financial support. Actually, she was quite offended that I would even imagine her throwing me out on the street or not loving me because of a difference of beliefs, but I had no idea how she would react. I didn’t really think she would do that, but it was the worst possible scenario, and I had to be prepared for anything.

Later, my Internet research came up again when we discussed where I learned about atheism and arguments for and against the existence of God. She claimed that since I don’t know any unbelievers in person, and the primary way that I’ve learned about it is through the Internet, I shouldn’t trust anything I read online about it. To my readers whose blogs I also follow: unless you’re a Christian, I shouldn’t trust anything you say because you’re probably a crazed Internet psycho who hates God . . . sorry to inform you. (I guess you can’t trust me either, because I am too!)

My confirmation bias
This is one thing that as soon as my mom said it, I tried to explain why it wasn’t true, but she wasn’t having it. First she went on for a while about how I decided not to believe because I wanted a lack of accountability to authority and whatnot… I was dumbfounded to hear this from her. All of us, as atheists, have probably heard “You just want to sin!” in numerous variations since deconverting, and I hear it so much that it doesn’t really get to me anymore. But it’s just so blatantly wrong, falsely accusing us of something that doesn’t even make sense, and hearing it from my own mother kind of stung. I couldn’t help but cringe as she said it. I did try to explain that for atheists, the accountability is now to ourselves and each other rather than a god who would forgive us every Sunday at communion, but that, along with any other justification I gave, was moot.

In order to confirm my anti-God and anti-accountability bias, according to my dear mother, I’m in the business of manipulating facts in the face of clear evidence for God (such as real-life miracles and answered prayers which she did not hesitate to provide) in order to find him absent. Even though I always look at the question from all sides, reading books both for and against the existence of God and taking Apologetics 101 (which I miraculously aced, if you were curious), the only reason I do so, according to her, is because I think I’m smarter than the creator of the universe.

I tried my best to explain that a confirmation bias towards atheism, for a Christian child, really does not make any sense. I’d been told tale after tale in which I was given the end answer, and when I later went to gather the facts and any explanation, the story didn’t hold up. If I’d had any confirmation bias, it would have been in favor of their veracity, but having no one ever tell me that there was a chance Genesis was false, I had no way to arrive at that conclusion but on my own. I never imagined that God didn’t exist until I went through the arguments by myself and pieced together the whole picture. For me, the answer came only after the questions: the opposite of a confirmation bias.

And the conversion attempts begin…
Throughout the conversation, my mom’s greatest point was that I “never gave God a chance.” I don’t know if I’ll be able to explain it well to you, but I understood where she was coming from even though I didn’t agree. She emphasized something that she brought up briefly in our initial conversation: instead of looking at the logical arguments on both sides of the God debate, I should instead read the Bible and devotional books. I should give praying a try, and humble myself rather than trying to outsmart and disprove God. It doesn’t make any sense, I know, but if you have had similar coming-out conversations then you might sympathize. She was trying to say that this really is a matter of the heart instead of the head. It was more about getting into the right mindset, because my “confirmation bias” would keep me from seeing the truth no matter what the facts said.

What she, and many other Christians, doesn’t understand, is that we atheists like to start from square one and build from there: first we use what we know to determine if we can find a reason to believe in God, and if we do then we might consider practicing a religion. Take note though, that this doesn’t usually happen. Atheists converting back to religion after leaving it is almost unheard of, and for good reason. We don’t see the evidence we’re looking for, and until we do, we’re not going to worship an invisible and undetectable deity.

At the end of our conversation, my mom slyly mentioned again that she did in fact pay for my tuition and while she wasn’t about to throw me out on the street, she wanted me to do her a favor–if you can call it that. She then produced a piece of art that had been sitting by her, hidden in a shopping bag throughout our conversation. It was a bible verse that she wanted–required–that I display in plain sight in my dorm and my future place of residence.

img_0498

She explained that this was the verse given to me when I was confirmed into our Lutheran church, which was very significant to her. She teared up as she told me that I can’t deny that it’s a sign from God that I was assigned a verse about following God and never being “snatched out of His hand.” I now have it in my dorm, which I always took pride in being my own space, not littered with bible verses or religious propaganda, but I guess it is a small price to pay for coming out of the closet.

I’m learning that there is no point in trying to explain my side to my mother, because she really sees my beliefs as ludicrous. It’s frustrating, but it’s not a big deal, because I’m confident that I’m not the crazy one here. After our conversation, I printed out the paper that explains my secular humanist beliefs as well as the essay that initially moved me to atheism. I know she’ll hate them–and I even warned her that she would–but if she truly wants to know what I believe, then these essays are a good place to start.


Read next:

i-am-an-atheist-9

Support CA

36 Replies to “My Mom Thinks I’m Crazy”

  1. I would accept crazed. After all I worship my cat Baxter [:-)].

    In addition to not having given god a chance, more often I am told I never new god. I think I gave god more than a chance. I gave the Christian god about three years of chance. As far as not ever knowing god, it is correct, since there is no god to know.

    As for what effect your papers will have on your mother if she decides to read them, who knows? All one may need is a chink in her or his “full armor of God.”

    A good post, and I hope you have smoother times ahead.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I appreciate you sharing your story as well as your willingness to be vulnerable about this dialogue/series of events with your mom. As a Christian, I can both sympathize with some of your mothers concerns and questions, while cringe at others.

    Speaking now of my own story, it has been quite challenging to have once been agnostic (if not actually rather atheistic) in an “unbelieving” family and then convert to Christianity. And to go, of all places, to a Christian school, and later enter into Christian ministry… Certainly a far cry from my original aspirations to have a career in the military, the sciences, or criminal justice. However, I am not speaking from regret, but rather shock and retrospection. I would not choose to go back if I could, nor do I think that possible after encountering God (as crazy as you likely think that sounds; of course, I mean that in a more metaphysical/subjective sense than a face to face “encounter”). It is in this way, but in the inverse, that I suppose I can relate. Of course, my experience has been very different as well.

    I will admit, it has been hard to find atheists who know how to dialogue openly and respectfully. And of course, that can be a two-sided coin. However, I am open to dialoguing with atheists (time-permitting). In fact, that is a big part of why I began a blog. I have read some of your articles and have come close to chiming in before. Not that I am actually afraid to (hence this post), but it certainly can be risky to post anything among atheist threads due to the likelihood of being swarmed with shallow and intolerant mockery. Although, I try not to assume that would be the case.

    Nevertheless, I know that talking with family about disagreements can be incredibly difficult. I also know how important loving your family through those differences can be. I certainly hope that you are able to keep up both a healthy relationship and dialogue with your mother and the rest of your family.

    I am curious, since you said you do read arguments for Christianity, what are some of the better ones you have read (aside from the one in the link from this post)?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Looks like you need to take up painting or needle point. I’m sure you can think of plenty of verses that are extraordinarily foolish in the Bible. Frame her a “nice” scripture and insist that she hangs it on her wall.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is so hard. I haven’t told any family that I’m an atheist (or that my husband is and we’re planning on raising our kids without god…oh boy). I think the thing that makes it so difficult to talk about with people who love us is that they are instantly concerned about hell. In a weird way, I appreciate it. I’m thankful that my loved ones have a serious concern for my soul and its eternal well being. But also, can’t they just shut up and not be ruled by fear??
    It’s a hard conversation that, hopefully, I’ll never have to have with my parents!😂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t think your mom actually thinks you’re crazy. Your abandoning the faith is the single greatest failure of her life, at least from her perspective. That is a very hard thing to process for a parent of faith. She loves you and is genuinely concerned about you.

    Don’t be afraid to talk about atheism and faith with her. It doesn’t have to become this heated argument, if you’re not trying to convince her she’s wrong and she stops trying to convert you.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. I don’t trust your mum. I think you’re should prepare for a worst case scenario. It looks like she’s only going to up the breaching till a point you can’t bear it. And if you break and tell her all you have inside, I fear things will become harder to mend.

    A suggestion would be to go tell her that you’ve thought about what she said and give you time to take it in, that’s to stall for time till you think of.somethimg out cause it seems things will escalate.

    And naturally, I will assume the church and your family knows so you must assume this blog could be found out in time and prepare for that.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hmm…Sounds like there’s a lot of emotional blackmail going on here. Maybe you should try being a bit firmer. And maybe you should try some of the same. How about ‘I only went to a Christian College for you sake’. Your Mom, with the best intentions, has been forcing her world view onto you from the moment you were born. She’s tried to deprive you of the right to form your own world view, and failed, and now she’s resorting to bullying. No child should have to suffer that kind of abusive behaviour, particularly from a parent. I would tell her that you’re an adult, with the right to freedom of belief, and that if she can’t bring herself to respect your beliefs in any discussion about religion, then from now on it’s best that the two of you don’t discuss religion. Oh, and I’d make a point of letting her know just how offended you were by that framed bible quote.
    Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hang in there, I know this is a tough time with what you and your mom are going through. I wish that your mom would be more understanding and accept you as you are. Yet as a christian parent myself, I can understand your mom to a point. Although I do not agree with some of her tactics and I wish she would be more open to listen and hear what you have to say, I do get how she feels. You certainly know that as christians we sincerely believe in a God that we cannot prove. We really believe he is there and loves us. In turn, parents want the best for their kids in all things especially spiritually. Try to keep in mind that she loves you and I pray in time will listen more and let you be you. You know as well as I do she is never going to stop praying for you and hoping you will change your mind. So again, hang in there and keep looking for those times when you can sit down and discuss both sides. Let her know no matter what you love her and hopefully she will be loving and accepting toward you also.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Besides your mum’s bizarre request to display a Bible verse up, things turned out better than I thought (well that still remains to be fully seen). She appears to still love you despite not being able to accept or comprehend your beliefs yet, but once you have your own place it will be easier for you and mum to work out your differences. Wishing you all the best!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Still, I think all of this is going better than the worst-case scenarios I came up with when I first started reading your blog.

    If it helps you feel any better, my own Mom — the same one who raised me to be an atheist — is NOW a believer and won’t let up about it. We rarely talk and rarely see each other, and… Wait that doesn’t sound like encouragement at all. Sorry.

    What I meant to say was: it’s survivable. The hard parts might not all be finished yet, but they WILL be finished at some point, and life will go on. Someday you will look back on these days in disbelief that the feelings were actually so intense.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I think you’re right. You will never changer her mind. I personally would take issue with the “art”. I have been in this same situation. a couple of times and I find it a bit insulting. My mother (Catholic) is BIG on Christmas and made me a nativity scene for Christmas one year. Then she bought me a second one for Christmas a few years later. She makes a big deal when I don’t put them out at Christmas. After all they were a gift. I told her I kept them because she gave them to me (and I have) but I would be a hypocrite to put them out. She doesn’t like it but she accepts it.

    My wife’s aunt gave both my daughters children’s bibles for Christmas when they were younger. I told both my girls they were free to read them if they wanted to. I believe reading the stories in the bible is the quickest path to atheism. This was several years ago. Both my girls are Atheists. We came across the books recently when doing some cleaning and we had a chuckle. I wanted to throw them in the trash because I did not want to support religion in any way but my daughters talk me about how the books help them become atheists so we donated them in hopes they will help guide some other kids to atheism.

    I was quiet about about my atheism for a very long time. I was tolerant of christian influence in every aspect of daily public life for a very long time. I’m done with that. I learned a great lesson from Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris. By being silent and living in the shadows of religion I was part of the problem. Religion needs to be ridiculed because it is ridiculous. This doesn’t mean you need to be mean to people. It just means you need to hold a mirror up to religion and let it see it’s reflection. It needs to be confronted with reality and reason.

    Back to your “art” now that i’m done ranting…LOL.

    Personally, I live my life the way I choose and there is no negotiation. This is who I am and if you don’t like it thats your problem to wrestle with on your own. Personally I would not hang that in my home. I view that as a concession on your beliefs that your mom would not be willing to provide you in return by hanging “art” with a saying from Christopher Hitchens in her home for you.

    But thats just me.

    AW

    Liked by 2 people

  12. You know, I can’t help but be confused by your mother’s reaction to this. It sounds to me that you had a lot of questions that were unanswered and so you desired to build your own foundation . . . I really cannot see the problem with that. Seriously, you do you. It is not my job as a Christian to yell at you, but rather to be here to support you if you need it. Seriously, she needs to back off and stop playing the guilty sin card. Her salvation is not dependent on your walk of faith or non-faith. If she truly understood scripture the way that she says she does (or assumes), then she would realize that Christ pretty much said to focus on yourself and then lead by example. Now, perhaps she takes your non-belief as an affront to her parenting, but once again, faith is at the discretion of the person. Oi, there is a lot more that I want to say. I wish I could give you a list of critiques. Good luck with your walk, seriously!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I am so sorry you have to deal with this. Your mother’s response disturbs me, but sadly I am not surprised by it, the manipulative nature and the blatant blackmail is a poor move and reveals so much.

    My concern is that if you accept this and don’t push back, she’ll make another ‘request’. However, if you do try to suggest to her that she is in essence blackmailing you into compliance and that that never works, then you could be fuelling something worse. You have a difficult road and you’ll need to choose your actions carefully, what will you challenge and what will you let slide? It’s not an easy road.

    Your mother is hurt and she’s reacting from that hurt and she’s reacting out of perceived failure and she maybe even thinks that your rejection of her god is also a rejection of her. Different people respond differently in this situation and you probably know better than us how she’ll respond, my hope is that a gentle reminder that you love her and that she did bring you up to be independent and you appreciate that upbringing, will help her to realise that you need her to support you and to let you make your own decisions. If that isn’t the case, then you have a difficult road and she’s going to learn the hard way that her reaction is going to drive you away.

    Knowing that you have sought atheist views on line will very likely drive her crazy. She can’t control that and it could be that she is doing her best to counteract that influence.

    In my own life, that’s where the biggest issues are, my wife reluctantly accepts my atheism and that I came it rationally, but that fact that I dare to discuss leaving Christianity on line and even get involved in critiques against Christianity drives her insane. It’s this that stops us discussing religion because she can’t leave that fact alone, it fuels enormous amounts of anger and feelings of betrayal. If your mother feels anything like that, then her reaction is completely understandable, but still wrong.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. After 50 years of marriage I find that it isn’t necessary to discuss every issue in either direction. We both give each other wads of space, and believe what we believe independently of each other. Know what? Im not even WHAT he believes, and we don’t really get into it.
      Sometimes I think Deep Discussers are digging too deeply into one another, and sometimes what they find causes more problems than not.

      CA, you might just suggest to your mother that she brought you up and did a good job of it, and no matter what you believe, you still love her and respect her own beliefs. You just can’t share them. I mean, we do it with other people all the time, and no one takes damage. It’s too bad for her to make it such a personal affront.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. I agree with that “blackmail’ possibility, or a foot in the door to try and budge you into areas you don’t want to go, things you’ve already thought about. I dated a really religious person in high school (the only boy I knew who willingly went to church twice on Sunday and every Wednesday night). Nice enough guy and he invited me along a few times. It was different than what I’d grown up with (was Pentecostal and non-denominational, he was Church of Christ).

      He didn’t condemn me for not being a big believer in God and all the questions i had, especially about what God would want for us and what is really hell-worthy. But I did find it odd that one day (the last day I went with him) he asked if maybe I should think about going to church and being right with God “just in case” it turns out I’m not right.

      I’m a lousy liar and have too much guilt to be a hypocrite, and I couldn’t pretend for anybody else’s sake about my beliefs. I’m willing to listen, but that idea stank of hypocrisy, and I couldn’t do it, couldn’t even say it.

      Your beliefs are your own, and hugs to you and all the hope in the world that you don’t start feeling like you’re walking on eggshells around her if things get tense. Keep being calm and rational–you’re doing far better than this than I would if I were in your shoes, that’s for damn sure!

      Like

  14. I’m sorry your mother has put you through all of this and I can only imagine that if I were younger when I came out as atheist my mother would have done the same to me. It’s tough on you already and I’m sure her conversion attempts are not helping matters at all.

    I do agree with your mother on one point…

    You should not trust me…I am a weird and nutty person….so good job on your mom warning you about me and my untrustworthy nature. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Ultimately your mom has invested much more of her life into this. Her beliefs have forged certain neural pathways and for many years they’ve been reinforced and released dopamine into her brain. If she were to deconvert it would require a fairly slow process of just nudging the brain slowly in another direction. As it stands: God exists, and her religion is true. This is the premise in which all else is hinged upon. Your viewpoint cannot only result from:

    A) The source of your evidence is faulty (genetic fallacy)
    B) You are flawed either in how religious you were to begin with, or in your ability to analyze evidence. You are the one who is biased (ad hominem)
    C) You aren’t aware of her evidence (strawman fallacy)

    She tried all those lines of the attacks. It’s Sherlock Holmes-ish in a way. She’s using powers of deduction based on what she thinks is an unshakable fact.

    I agree that ultimately if she is going to see things from your point of view in anyway, she has to probably see how you change as an unbeliever. To be assured that you aren’t in rush to start sinning, and maybe you’ll have more unbeliever RL friends that she can meet over time. For her the first hand experiences with atheists will mean far more to her than any internet community. And she will simply have to see your happiness and the fact that you haven’t really changed. That you are still a good human being.

    If you asked her “Is there any evidence I could show you that would change your mind about your faith?” She would probably say no. So there is no where to go. And for you, she would want to know the same thing. Except for you there ARE things that could change your mind if she presented you with evidence. This is the one thing she doesn’t have because her beliefs rely on faith. So still, no where to go.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I have just read through your blog from start to finish and I relate to you in every post. I was in seminary school 2 years ago when made the abnegation. My mother resorted to ad homonim as well, attacked my intelegence and resorted to judging the core of who I was. There is nothing more demeaning than to be hated by your mother… They mean well, and yet are terrified that you might be right at the same time. There was a light at the end of the tunnel for me, I do hope there is one for you as well. I just gave it time, she eventually started asking questions, the questions were paired with snide retorts but I ignored those and replied with my educated conclusions. The best advice I can give however is referring you to the testimony of another man who chronical​s this dialogue exactly. It was written by a friend of Darwin’s ​actually, an ordained priest named William Winwood Reade, the book is Outcast (he wrote the Martyrdom of Man as well, which applies to the head knowledge you and your mother spoke about. It is a beatifully orcastrated account of facts that brought him to the position he held till death). Outcast, however, applies to the matters of the heart. It is a compilation of letters to friends and family. To say his work is profound is a severe understatement.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I suppose you can leave that bible verse on the wall as long as you are financially dependent on your mom. If that’s the only demand she is making on you, then you have come out of this pretty well. And as soon as you are supporting yourself, it can come down.

    And, although your mom doesn’t realize it, that verse is a good warning never to go back to that religion. It’s using the metaphor of god as “shepherd” and believers as “sheep”. Well, shepherds don’t tend their sheep because they love them. They tend their flock because they want to fleece them, milk them, eat their children, and screw them. Once a sheep is no longer useful it’s sent to the slaughterhouse. Never go back to being a sheep!

    Liked by 5 people

  18. My mother, having been brought up in a nonfundamentalist Protestant family accepted my unbelief (at age 15) with resignation. Some 40 years later however, my (only) daughter-in-law coming from a strictly Catholic family, does not think I’m crazy but she was as worried about my unbelief as your mom is about yours. She even has requested a nephew of hers who is a priest in another city, to write to me in more theological terms than she could use. Maybe I don’t need to tell you that both efforts have failed miserably.
    Without sounding pessimistic, I think that your mother will also find it extremely difficult or even impossible, to “accept” your reasoning, so both of you will have to live with that inconvenience. I say the same about my daughter-in.law; we will never reach an “agreement” (also known as: my conversion). In my opinion, that is because of the essential difference in our respective brain circuits.
    So be it. Specially because today, another 30 years later, we still maintain an excellent relationship.
    I just wanted to tell you briefly my experience. Be well!
    .-

    Liked by 2 people

  19. One message that I like to make clear is that I am not saying a god or gods don’t exist. I simply don’t believe the current evidence. Therefore, I am making no claim at all. This could, of course, prompt your mother to cite all her “evidence” and get you into a tricky situation, but you can try to challenge her by making her realize that she thinks like you EVERY DAY. After all, when it comes to Odin, Poseidon, Vishnu and the thousands of other gods, past and present, is she not an unbeliever? If you said you were a Hindu, how would she react?
    I also love to paraphrase Penn when someone brings up the whole moral argument. Atheism, firstly, is not a belief system, so there is no code of ethics. However, secularism is and we can agree on “well being” as a foundation for morality. Penn said, “I have raped exactly the amount of people I wanted to. None.” And it’s not because someone told him it was wrong, it’s just that he had no desire to cause harm.
    I would challenge your mother to call The Atheist Experience show and talk with them so she can see that there is an entire community that feels as you do.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Smarter than god? Considering that given omnipotence I could easily create a far better eyeball than he supposedly gave us, yeah, I think I am. I also wouldn’t give humans the genes for making egg yolk and all sorts of other evolutionary vestiges, unless I actually used evolution to create (which I wouldn’t do because it’s cruel). I would also be able to provide sufficient evidence and support to my loyal followers to establish myself as more reliable than pure chance and stop cults before they happen. I would also instantly put a stop to all child abuse. That’s the difference between me and this god…if I had the knowledge and power to stop a child from being raped, I would. This god just watches, making him an accomplice in the continuation of the evil and suffering he claims to hate.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. As others have noted, these are pretty typical responses (except the absence of talk about hell?) and you seem to be handling everything very well. I will just caution against cultivating the notion that your mom (and believers in general) are crazy; noting that you said “I’m not the crazy one”, which implies that one of you is. There are a lot of factors that have led the majority of the world’s population over the last several thousand years to believe in divine agents. Historically speaking, we hold the atypical worldview and I think it’s best to keep that in mind and avoid fostering classifications which can alienate. Instead of dividing us into crazy and not-crazy, I think it’s healthier to limit the identification of differences to the relevant differences in belief. Crazy carries a lot more baggage.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. “I hear it so much that it doesn’t really get to me anymore”
    I think that points to the final arrangement.
    Most of the atheists who I have known, have ended up making all the concessions in their dealings with the religious. We are the ones who let it go, bite our tongues, take a deep breath, etc.
    We do these things because we can, because it just doesn’t matter as much to us.
    We are not under the desperate tension generated by trying to sustain cognitive dissonance, seeking reassurance after unsatisfying reassurance that they understand what they mean when they name the nidus of their psyche.
    We can afford to give a little.
    The depersonalizing effect of the internet permits us to forgo the usual allowances, for good and ill.
    The whole issue becomes smaller and smaller with time, though it remains interesting.

    Liked by 4 people

  23. Just one more example of the push-pull tug-of-war that goes on between believers and non-believers. And the “script” never changes. sigh

    For me, it’s the other way around. I left and my children stayed … and they truly think I’ve been swayed by “the devil.” Fortunately, they live several hours away and we both have learned to avoid any “religious” discussions. Chances are this will eventually be the position taken between you and your mom. Best wishes in the meantime.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. In one way, I do disagree with some of the sentiment here – you win. You win completely. Humanity wins. Parental authoritarianism (I paid for your tuition, so you’d better never challenge my authority over you, etc.) loses.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I actually think she’s right that God has to do with the “heart” and not the “head”. But you can’t have your cake and eat it too: either God is a name of a type of human experience (and could very well be a “projection” that exists only within consciousness) or God is an object like any other, and therefore accessible to the “head.” I know of materialist Christian theologians who draw on Luther thinkers and reformulate the doctrine of God accordingly.

    Also, I have friends who came out as gay to southern Baptist parents, and their stories sound similar to yours. Sometimes (not always!) the parents come around in the end, but it can take a lot of time for someone to unlearn the lies about gay people/atheists that they’ve been told for decades. I think the clergy bears most of the blame – many of them should know better.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. I’m going to be the devil whispering in your ear here, but that kind of intrusion into my personal space would bring out my rebellious side. I think you should hang a cloth over the “art” and take it off when you have family over. 😉

    Or perhaps hang a Carl Sagan quote next to it, or Darwin’s original tree of life scribble. Something that genuinely inspires you.

    Or make a real point about your mother’s behavior by hanging a picture of Kim Il-Sung beside it. I hear that’s mandatory in North Korea and non-compliance is harshly punished.

    I don’t know how your mother feels the right to be offended that you thought there was a tiny chance she’d kick you out, when she’s not so subtly threatening to mess up your life in another big way if you don’t comply with her picture demand.

    However, like you say yourself, the best thing is probably just to comply. It’s a small thing to keep the peace. And maybe one day you’ll read it , collapse in repentant tears, and recommit your life to Jesus!…or not 🙂

    Like

  27. oh, my dear. My only comment is, you can’t win. She can’t win. You love each other, and at some point you will either have to agree to disagree or just continue the “I said” “God said” stuff.
    This is the other side of coming out to family.

    You are still her daughter, and Im sure she’s putting pressure on you from that angle. We do tend to think of ‘young people” as being easily swayed, led, and bullied, and most mothers are really really good at all three. You are also an adult, and from what I’ve read here a thoughtful, careful one.

    This ain’t gonna be easy. =(

    Liked by 3 people

  28. I wish all religious parents would get together in the same room just so that they can hear themselves parroting the exact same rebuttals to all of their non-religious kids. Though, they would probably end up nodding at each other and keep thinking they are all brilliant for these genius-level statements.

    Liked by 4 people

  29. My Mom Thinks I’m Crazy

    You knew that was going to happen.

    She claimed that since I don’t know any unbelievers in person, and the primary way that I’ve learned about it is through the Internet, I shouldn’t trust anything I read online about it.

    She is right. You shouldn’t trust it — you should check it out. And, it seems to me, that’s exactly what you have been doing.

    Throughout the conversation, my mom’s greatest point was that I “never gave God a chance.”

    Put it in perspective. You have indirectly challenged her own beliefs. And she does not want them to be challenged. At least in part, she is trying to convince herself that she hasn’t been wrong all of these many years.

    My best wishes. I think everything will turn out fine. You have shocked your mother, so it will take a while for that to settle out. But it is starting out pretty well. After a while, she will come to accept that you are not an evil monster, that you are still the same person that she raised.

    Liked by 4 people

  30. Of course, she thinks you are crazy. Would anyone who believed in Hell think otherwise of someone choosing to go there?

    And the “sheep” quote (and all related “flock” references) is perfect. Sheep were never as docile as they are now. We selectively bred them to be that way. We culled all of the strong males (turned them into meals) and if any of the females got too aggressive, they went into the pot next. We allowed the ones that had behaviors we approved of to breed. This is true of any social movement also.

    The old joke of the Jewish mother wanting her sons to become doctors (to attract a good Jewish wife) and daughters to marry successful doctors, lawyers, or businessmen (Jewish of course) was not a joke and those ladies still exist. Had they not, many “traditions” including traditional religions would have died out much faster.

    If parents are “successful” (supply any meaning you want for this) they want their children to be just like them as they have only a few views of what that success is.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. This is a tricky one maintaining respect and love. Be patient young padawan, what’s a little bad art to a loving relationship with mom. My parents are a lot like yours. They’ve always believed just because. It really is incomprehensible for them that one might not.

    Liked by 3 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s