What My Mom Really Thinks of Me

If you were following my story throughout my coming-out experience earlier this year, then you’ll know how stressful it was to have my family accusing me of being delusional because they couldn’t see how anyone could rationally conclude that the Christian god is not real. After I came out to my mom, she took some time to process as well as read a paper I wrote on secular humanism. During this time, she took pages of notes on what she wanted to say to me about the topic. I wrote about that conversation, but recently I found the notes she took, replete with her thoughts about me and the accusations she wanted to make at me in our “open, honest dialogue”. So here are the best of them, and a few of my thoughts (in italics)!

  1. Rebellion, questioning, and seeking – acting very juvenile
    1. Questioning things and thinking for yourself is so rebellious and juvenile, right?
  2. Angry at Satan – he targeted an introverted, sensitive young lady as prey
    1. This really makes me cringe. It’s as if I’m supposed to be quiet and shy and not ask questions. If I’m not careful, I might discover that everything I was taught as a kid was a lie!
  3. If you aren’t on God’s side you are on Satan’s side
    1. Yep. Just call me Jaclyn Glenn.
  4. Learning about leaving the faith by reading online – Internet strangers have no website credibility; you can write anything and everything you want with no proof
    1. Unless that stranger on the Internet happens to be a Christian, in which case you can trust what they say. Not to mention that if an argument is a logical progression, then it can stand on its own, no matter who presents it.
  5. Are you afraid to have open, honest dialogues with others?
    1. No, but one-sided, accusatory “conversations” like this really aren’t productive and I would rather just avoid them.
  6. Is this really all about God, or is it more about rebellion against family and college?
    1. Now that I think about it, I really have just been rebelling all along!
  7. You have your mind set, without anything to base it on
    1. Weird. Where is the evidence of your god, again?
  8. How can you say he does not exist when you have never reached out to him? He is real: he answers prayers, you’ve never tried praying
    1. Have you ever tried praying or reaching out to any other god? How do you know they don’t exist?
  9. Denying God is a convenient way to not have to admit your own sins or wrongdoing. It is also a way to justify selfishness and putting yourself first; no sacrifice needed if you live for yourself
    1. Yep. I should be living with the sole purpose of getting myself into heaven. Instead, selfishly, my primary concern is caring for our planet, animals, and other people.
  10. How do you rationalize the actions of believers?
    1. You know, actually… I can’t.
  11. What kind of friends do you want to have?
    1. Preferably nice, accepting people. I don’t have qualifiers; the people in my life don’t have to subscribe to a specific religion to make the cut.
  12. Consequentialism – actions affect relationships with sisters and family
    1. “Consequentialism”, my favorite moral philosophy, is the only word that I introduced to her that resurfaced anywhere in these notes or in our conversation, if that gives you any indication of how much of a one-way conversation it is.
  13. You purposefully chose the road to go against others to feel smarter and superior
    1. Actually, there wasn’t much of a choice involved.
  14. You are obviously searching for something
    1. Yeah… objective truth!
  15. So science, logic, and human reasoning are incompatible with the existence of god, the devil, and sin?
    1. No, but they make it really unnecessary as a way of understanding the world.
  16. How do you explain conscience, that feeling of guilt when you know you’ve done something wrong?
    1. That’s called morality!
  17. What about the bible, the best-selling book of all time?
    1. What about Harry Potter and The DaVinci Code, the other best-selling books of all time?

So the moral of the story is don’t snoop through other people’s stuff because what you find about yourself is never good.

25 Replies to “What My Mom Really Thinks of Me”

  1. I’m so happy to find someone else who is going through what I’ve been going through! My parents are from a very conservative Christian background, so I wish I could say that my “conversation” with my mother was like this. Mine was more like, I’m kicking you out because you will bring judgement upon our house, you whore! But yeah… Coming out is hard. And you are right, trying to replace religion with atheism will never work. I struggled for a long time trying to fill that void in my life. I ended up really enjoying writing and painting 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I see a lot of circular reasoning in that list. That’s pretty common. I guess the real question is whether or not talking about these things with your loved ones is worthwhile. I don’t with my own family. I don’t hide my views from them, but I see no point in discussing the matters with them. We will only get angry. You may end up there, you may not. Good luck in any event.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A number of her questions are simply… Stupid. No doubt. Understandable, however, given her highly emotional situation. However, some are completely valid. And you really miss the mark on answering them.

    #4. Assuming that someone is a Christian because they claim to be is illogical. This is not the definition of a Christian. A Christian is someone who holds a couple, quite simple beliefs – but as we should all know, saying that you believe something – IN FACT – even believing that you believe something doesn’t actually constitute absolute belief. Which sounds odd, I know, but there’s varying degrees of belief or faith.

    #7. Well documented historical evidence and testimony constitutes proof.

    #8. I’m still curious if you have ever tried praying, since you dodged your mother’s question. Why don’t you? Are you afraid God might answer?

    #9. I am unsure where you got the idea that a Christians sole purpose should be to get to heaven. Purpose implies an action, one cannot perform actions in order to gain the result of heaven. See Romans 10:9

    #10. The fact that you can’t should drive you to attempt to answer that question through the acquisition of knowledge – I think that was the point of the question.

    #11. If I met someone claiming to be Christian while at the same time avoiding non believers – I would question their claim. (see all 4 gospels to see who Jesus hangs with)

    #15. On the contrary, science and reason compliment the idea of God as well as Christianity quite nicely. Did you know that the atheist community rejected the big bang theory initially? The idea that the universe came into being supports a creator. Not absolutely, but, I can’t see any other possible, truly rational explanation. Any atheist I’ve talked to simply says that we haven’t found the answer yet. Or claims the multiverse theory (which has zero supporting evidence – honestly, look it up)

    I’ve read some of your other stuff. Interesting, but a lot of the time I’m left thinking that you didn’t look hard enough. Don’t stop, keep pushing. Push into your atheism. Push into your disbelief. You’ll be amazed at what you find behind it all.

    Anyway, all the best to you and your mom.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Here’s something your mother might reflect upon:
    Most children born into Jewish families grow up to be Jewish.
    Most children born into Christian families grow up to be Christian.
    Most children born into Muslim families grow up to be Muslim.
    There’s obviously a pattern here. Most children believe what grownups tell them, and few truly think for themselves. When people leave the religion of their childhood, that is often because they are thoughtful, caring, and sincere enough to face uncomfortable questions. They are not just swallowing everything they were taught. They are actually thinking.
    These points are obviously true, but they may be painful for a parent to face.
    Kindness and gentleness may help open the door.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I agree with most folks who acknowledge your mom’s attempt to keep the dialogue going, as it were. Unfortunately and I agree with you here, it’s pretty much a one-sided affair. “You are wrong. I am right.” sort of thing. I would like to remark on several comments.

    #3 I’ve heard this so many times before, and it never ceases to stun. It is the essence of the zero-tolerance attitude. It abolishes empathy. It destroys compromise. It boldly states: I will not listen to you, but you must listen to me. I don’t know how to get past this mindset.

    #11 is fascinating to me. When I accepted a job at an historically black university, my mother was okay, until I owned up to having a black girlfriend. Her first response was quite near the same. She said: “You won’t have any friends.” Ultimately I realized it was she, who was terrified of losing her friends. I wonder if your mother has the same underlying fear, that she will lose her friendship community, once word gets out about her wayward daughter. It’s a baseless fear, but for her it is real.

    #13, 14, and 15 reach back to the Faustian narrative. If you reach out for knowledge you will ultimately doom yourself. Christianity has always opposed the human desire to know, to acquire knowledge via scientific inquiry–which unlike Christianity–admits its mistakes and builds upon them.

    The last # 16. Sigh. Okay, it’s the best selling book ever and as studies have shown time and time again, the most unread book ever.
    A friend of mine once happily declared he was going to read the Bible! He got as far as Leviticus and quit. It was too violent, he told me. Of course most people don’t even try to read the Bible. They just allow the black-robed man tell them what’s there–and so they get his version and his version only.

    Dear dear friend, I, like so many others, understand your mom to be one who is so caught up in the “ancient catastrophe” that she cannot extricate herself. She loves you but in between that human love is a ghost. A ghost who is as thick as a brick wall.

    Stay strong. And follow Oscar Wilde’s advice: “The best revenge is to live well.” Just be happy. It will, in time, prove that one does not need to believe in a non-existent god to be good or to be moral or to be happy.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I am much older than you. I am probably older than your mom. But I admire your courage and I appreciate mom’s efforts to have a reasonable discussion. Not easy when it’s your kiddo. I hope she can love you and accept your right to think and believe as you wish, with dignity. The struggles of coming out. Wow.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree that Possibilianism is a useful and creative idea. I’ve commented on Eagleman’s approach at: theistsandatheists.wordpress.com/2017/06/07/possibilianism-are-you-a-possibilian-without-knowing-it/

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  7. In a way, you can see some similarities between your mother and yourself. Why? Because she asking questions. Asking questions is what lead you to leave the belief system you had been indoctrinated under. The fact that she is working to try to make sense and understand, even if she is reaching the wrong conclusions or stuck within in a certain paradigm of thinking simply demonstrates how tight the prison is that she’s stuck in. The questions you’ve been brave enough to ask, she cannot. She’s believed in something for too long perhaps, and so for her to ask those same questions that you did, will be a long process if it could happen at all. It’s clear there is love there though. Nobody takes notes and tries to analyze the situation about someone they don’t care about it. It is what it is. Just keep answering her questions and maybe she’ll start asking new ones. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

      1. As I’ve learned…we all biologically have the emotion of love…but how to love is a learned behavior. How you love is governed by how you have perceived others in your life loving you and other people. Most of us are just doing our best when it comes to love. The reality is that sometimes our best isn’t good enough.

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    1. Swarn’s right. I see where you get your ‘thinking it to death’ gene (and that’s not a shot, it means you get very deep into the structure of things, and so does she), and the fact that she’s not just writing you off as a lost child says a lot.

      We all have our own ways of working through trauma (and for her this must be as traumatic as it is for you) and it does appear that this is how she’s doing it.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. There’s nothing wrong with yourself. Don’t think that way. When you get to know yourself, as you have, you will be free at last, which I’m sure you are.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Time to play devil’s advocate once again, but this time I am advocating on behalf of your mother. Is she your devil? I hope not.

    Reading your mother’s comments can be taken as most above have taken them. I choose to look at them differently, to try to understand her side of the conversation. First, I think her comments speak of love–by her standards she really wants to understand you, but her upbringing cannot allow that. Everything she lives for is wrapped ip in religion, so of course she wants the same for you.
    But now she has been forced to deal with you on a battleground of sorts, and she does not know how to battle you. She wants everything to be sweet and nice for you, a perfect life, safe from the world’s iniquities and confusion. Almost everything between you now is confrontation, and she does not understand your drawing away from her. What her relationship was like with her own mother, I do not know, but I suspect it did not involve constant fighting, or questioning of her mother’s belief system. She was a good girl, believing everything she was told to believe, and now she is confounded and confused by your disbelief. She wants her daughter back. She loves you, BUT SHE THINKS YOU DO NOT LOVE HER. Daughters are supposed to love their mothers…
    The biggest problem, in my opinion, is that she does not know how to live without religion, so she is afraid for her little girl, who demands to live without religion. And it is that fear that speaks to you, overpowering her love, hiding her love. She is trying to protect you by protecting herself. She thinks her way will work, but she has no experience to fall back on…

    I have not read all your posts, CA, but I cannot remember much mention of your father, and only a little about your siblings. I would like to ask, and it is your choice to answer or not, is there a father in your family picture? If so, what does he feel about what you are going through, what your mother is going through? The reason I ask is because most of the time when you write about family, it is about your mother. I take that to mean of all your family members, you are closest to your mother, and you want very much to be understood by her, You want her to accept your non-belief. I don’t think she knows how to accept that, and she might never know how. How are you at putting yourself in your mother’s place? Walking a mile in her shoes? Maybe, were you to try that, you might find a way to talk with her, to let her know without confrontation that she brought you up to be able to think for yourself, and that you need her to let you know it is okay to think for yourself. Tell her you love her, ask her if she still loves you. Find a common point, then build on that point. Renew your friendship, and see where that takes you. It may succeed, or it may not. At least you tried.
    Like the notes you discovered. At least she tried to understand you. She thought about these questions when you were not there. But she does not know how to communicate with you on this battleground. You have the stronger position on the battlefield. Speak from strength. But, please, speak.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s been a while since I’ve read OT, but it would appear Hell doesn’t make a mention until the NT comes along. Jews had a completely different concept of afterlife (Sheol), and then there’s Ecclesiastes which seems to go against everything else written in the Bible.

      Liked by 3 people

  10. HA! Love this response to question #8 — Have you ever tried praying or reaching out to any other god? How do you know they don’t exist?

    Excellent question. It would be interesting to hear her answer.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Probably a simple ‘I don’t’. But, what does that have to do with anything? If a god or gods exist besides Yahweh – in what way would that contradict Christian belief? All of this to say I think you are under a false impression. I read something recently called ‘God has a name’ in which the author pokes at the idea that there are in fact other gods.

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      1. The beliefs of Christianity are totally based on the bible. Yahweh is the god of the bible. So if another god or other gods existed, quite simply, they would not be the god of the bible, thus praying or reaching out to them would be blasphemous to a believer.

        Apparently you are not aware of the many gods the Hebrews worshiped … and were told in no uncertain terms that Yahweh was jealous and they’d better stop muy pronto!

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  11. A good example of how religious beliefs hurt ppl. Cognitive dissonance makes her judge you evil, rather than believe you can be good and not believe. Most of my family never saw the terrible pain their emotional distance caused me. It was horrible and unexpected, and it came from the same desire to protect beliefs rather than to love people. God of love my ass.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Nate Owen went through similar trauma from his immediate family( Parents, siblings) and friends. He was effectively ostracized. I believe the thinking behind it being that by shunning (which was to protect the others from being infected by his non-belief) he would eventually come to his senses and he and his wife ould ”0return to Jesus (sic).”

      It’s an eye opening read, if you are up for it.

      https://findingtruth.info/2012/09/13/how-it-happened-my-deconversion-part-1/

      Liked by 1 person

  12. The idea of “God’s side” versus “Satan’s side” is fascinating. Did not their god create Satan? Is not their god all-powerful? Why does an all-powerful god allow any opposition to his wishes when he can make all of his opponents go away with a thought? (And if they say it is all part of “God’s Plan” (please attach a copy for my inspection) then their god has to take all of the responsibility for all of Satan’s actions. He is, by definition, no longer “all-good.”

    The whole idea of Satan was to offload all of the bad happenings from Yahweh’s plate. He has to exist, otherwise Yahweh has to take responsibility for all of the bad things that happen, so he can’t get rid of the guy, hence he is not all-powerful.

    I am a little shocked, though, that you would publish your mother’s comments without her permission. They were not, I suggest, created for publication and you did not say she was even aware of your possession of them. I think you need to look at this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. God did not ‘make his opponent Go away with a thought’ because he created the angels – and the angels have some sort of will (although they exist outside of time, like God, so it’s difficult to understand how their will works).
      Anyway, the angels had the choice to either serve God or attempt to overthrow him. He gave the latter group ‘a shot’ – he let them act before casting them out of the heavens. If he hadn’t let them act, the former group of angels would have more than raised an eyebrow – don’t you think?

      As for your latter comment, you fail to take human will into account.

      Like

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