dr-robert started this discussion 4.7 years ago#2,700
Recently someone posted this:
Over the past four to five years, I have been finding myself at odds with my family's strong Christian faith. I've been slowly moving toward Agnosticism and Spirituality, rather than one following any true religion.
I'm scared to express my true feelings about God to most people for fear that they will chastise me at every turn. I've tried before, but I'm always forced to retreat back by there disaproving looks and reponses. To the devout, such as my aunt and grandparents, religion is always a touchy subject. I've come to see it as a game of "I'm right and you're wrong so shut up."
Everytime they bring God or the Bible up in conversation I find myself trying to dodge it rather than tell them my true feelings on the matter, or I just plain lie and say what I know they want to hear.
I have nothing against any faith. I believe that religion is a private matter. I'm just tired my family's beliefs being forced down my throat.
What should I do/say when I'm forced into these talks?
And I replied with a joke:
Tell them that religion is like a big penis. You may have one, and you may even feel proud of it, but you shouldn't try to shove it down anyone's throat.
Now obviously that was a joke because this woman is not going to start talking to her uptight relatives about a big penis. But the joke had a point which was to help this person to break the silly sanctity of the family myth. Often such jokes are used in therapy for exactly that reason. Some of you probably have therapists who would do something similar.
Immediately a discussion ensued, including criticism of me for "bashing" religion, and disrespecting those who are religious. I think this needs some clearing up,so here it is:
I have religious friends from various Christian churches and from other religions as well. None of them feels that I fail to respect them as people. I respect all people unless they destroy that respect by bad behavior of some kind. But I do not respect religion at all. I find religion to be a cop-outâ€”a form of psycholgical escapism from the realities of life and death, and I am sad to see children being taught religious ideas because I know that many of them will spend years and yearsâ€”perhaps their entire livesâ€”oppressed by those ideas. To take just one small example: suppose you are born into a strict evangelical Christian family which believes that homosexuality is an affront to "the creator," and then you turn out to be gay (which is NOT, as these religious idiots claim, a "life-style choice," or an "illness" which can be cured by some pastor)? I won't even get into the rejection of science, the jiggering of text books and schools, the claims of demonic possession, the right-wing politics, and all the rest of the social manipulation these churches (which are supposed to be about "God," not taking control of society at large) engage in. This is, in my view, a disgraceful mess, unworthy of our actual human potential.
OK, that is my opinion. You do not have to agree. You may completely disagree. That's fine, but by expresssing this opinion, I am not "bashing" anything. Your religious convictions are no more "sacred" than any other beliefs. Just because they were poured into your mind at an early age, or because they make you feel safe, or because they remove, for you, some of the fear of death, does NOT mean that I am required to "respect" them. I do NOT respect such ideas, just as I do not respect extreme right-wing political ideas, for example, or many other beliefs of humans. I respect what I respect, and that is my right as a human being.
If your religious beliefs are so tenuous, so doubtful, that you cannot stand to hear disagreement, I think you need to find some new beliefsâ€”ones which you really DO believe.
Now, finally: no child is born a "Christian child,"or a "Moslem child" or a "Jewish child." A child is just a child, and is born with no beliefs at all. Beliefs are TAUGHT to the child by the family. This is obvious and simple. My view is this: Neither you nor anybody else actually knows that the "God" you believe in exists. You may want to believe that such an entity exists, but you do not KNOW it. You don't KNOW anything about an afterlife. How could you? So, if you teach your child that such ideas are realâ€”that they are factsâ€”you are LYING to the child. And since the child depends upon you to form an accurate, workable picture of this world, when you intentionally lie to a child, you are ABUSING the child. You are abusing the trust of the child. Abuse is not just spanking or yelling. Lying to a child is also a form of abuse. That is my opinion, and, having spent thousands of hours sitting in a small room talking to people who were abused in that way as children and who still carry the scars, I know what I am talking about.
If you don't like to hear that, tough. Don't accuse me of "bashing." I am not bashing anything. I am telling you frankly how all of this looks from here. I advise all of you to examine your beliefs carefully. Do you cling to them because they were taught to you as a child, or because they reduce your fear, or because of family or social pressure? If those are the reasons, your belief is not real, but just a sell-out.
If you don't like hearing this, don't read it. As I told Jake, this is my house, and here I say what I see. And, when I reply to a question here from an orignal poster, I will not stand for anyone criticizing my reply. Disagree if you like (respectfully), but I will say exactly what I want to say, when I want to say it, and how I want to say it.
Psyche joined in and replied with this 4.7 years ago, 5 hours later[^][v]#0
I read all of your replies, and I don't think you were bashing anything. You just gave your honest opinion, which is what I wanted to hear.
Thank you Dr. Robert
(Edited 3 minutes later.)
Molly joined in and replied with this 4.7 years ago, 32 minutes later, 5 hours after the original post[^][v]#0
Me too Dr Robert. I was really excited about the thread,as I am learning to cope,I think is the right word. I relate to psyche it seems.
There is this tension between family. Mom expresses how she hopes that something will trigger us to turn back to God. God forbid something happen to us,but that might be when we let God back in,she says. No matter how many times I tell her that I do not NOT believe in God. I just do not know. To her that's hope that I will 'find my way'. No matter what I say or do,she clings to hope.When a mom is sad for her daughter and son,and with me being sensitive, it hurts me that I am hurting her. She is scared for us. That sucks.
I know I am not the one hurting her.It's her own fear and pain bestowed on me. This is why it felt good to talk with you guys in the beginning of that thread. For whatever reason,it was enough for me to release frustration. Everyday,every moment it gets less scary being an independent being.
Sometimes you need to let the frustration out.
(Edited 1 minute later.)
dr-robert (OP) replied with this 4.6 years ago, 8 hours later, 14 hours after the original post[^][v]#0
Thanks Psyche and Molly.
Yes, being an independent being can be pretty tough work at first. Culture and society hate independence. Families hate independence. Culture and families want control, not freedom. Only the rare individual can find freedom, and part of the finding is accepting that you actually do not need approval or need to avoid disapproval because anyone who approves or disapproves of you is not really seeing "you" at all, but only the fantasies they have of you (in your mom's case, my wayward baby who is in danger of missing out on heaven, I assume).
If you stay with it, it gets easier. If you stay with it long enough, you will eventually understand that your mom, dad, and other family members have nothing at all to do with you. You love them because they are your family, and that's normal and expected, but you do NOT need to work out anything with them, in order for YOU to feel OK in life. Feeling OK in life is about SELF-acceptance, not the acceptance or understanding of anyone--not even mommie.
Take my word for this if you cannot now see it. You will.
(Edited 49 minutes later.)
Molly joined in and replied with this 4.6 years ago, 55 minutes later, 15 hours after the original post[^][v]#0
"you do NOT need to work out anything with them,in order for YOU to feel OK in life. Feeling OK in life is about SELF-acceptance,not the acceptance or understanding of anyone."
Thanks for this. No one knows me if they are only focusing on the persona anyway. If they knew I am not a 'something',then only acceptance would be happening. (((Robert)))
Ailonna joined in and replied with this 4.6 years ago, 12 minutes later, 15 hours after the original post[^][v]#0
Not trying to be a creeper Molly, but I like you. You have this obnoxious somewhat realistic bubbliness that is strangely tolerable. I like some of the things you have to say.
Molly replied with this 4.6 years ago, 16 minutes later, 16 hours after the original post[^][v]#0
(Citing a deleted or non-existent reply.)
Lol. I'm cracking up. What an awesome yet strange compliment. My favorite compliment ever I am pretty sure.
Molly double-posted this 4.6 years ago, 4 minutes later, 16 hours after the original post[^][v]#0
In reference to becoming free from parents,and why it's harder then being free from anyone else is, they raised me from the day I was born.
Two people became horny at the drive in watching 'Debbi Does Dallas.' 9 1/2 months my twin and I were born. They gave me the name Molly,and so I became that. They believed in many things,and since I was their daughter,I followed their lead.
The truth is,none of us belong to the people who raised us. They have no rights to bestow their beliefs on us,and us on our children.
Taking care of my kids is a privilege. Kids don't owe us anything,for they are not ours to own.
It's kind of like,we were always free from 'authority' but kids don't have the brain capacity to realize this. This is why purposely conditioning your kids is abuse in my eyes. They have enough Brain washing to deal with from their culture. The 'parent' should be the one strong person that can accept them for what they are.What are they/we? We are life,that has every right to not be judged on any level.
dr-robert (OP) replied with this 4.6 years ago, 23 hours later, 1 day after the original post[^][v]#0
Great post, Molly.
Yes, that is how kids get bornsomeone gets horny and does the nasty. Unfortunately, there are a lot more horny people than there are people with any wisdom to convey to children. That is why all this superstition just gets passed down from generation to generation. If it were not for the faint possibility of the occasional individual awakening from that dream, there really would be a hellright here on this earth.
Hexi joined in and replied with this 4.6 years ago, 27 minutes later, 1 day after the original post[^][v]#0
Reading these things, it really makes me angry. Why can't all parents be as awesome as mine were? This is pretty much what my mom said to me when, as a child, I asked her about "the point of it all":
"I don't have the answers and anyone who claims to is trying to sell you something. Find your own answers, or accept that you will most likely never know."
Add to that the fact that in Finnish schools, religion is always emphasized as being a story and that we cover ALL the major religions in school with equal focus, not just Christianity and you might start to see why I, personally, find the whole thing sad and even repulsive. It's so strange to think that anyone would sell you religion the way it's sold in some parts of the world. In here, if you say in any argument "It says in the bible" you are told to get the fuck out. So yeah, maybe I am rude against religious people but how can I not be? Not once in my life have I been told the bible is true by anyone in real life.
dr-robert (OP) replied with this 4.6 years ago, 2 hours later, 1 day after the original post[^][v]#0
> "I don't have the answers and anyone who claims to is trying to sell you something."
Yes. That's about it, isn't it? (this is NOT bashing). :-)
Molly replied with this 4.6 years ago, 45 minutes later, 1 day after the original post[^][v]#0
Hexi, Your mom is a wise lady,and I will be telling my children AND myself the very same thing.
Molly double-posted this 4.6 years ago, 2 minutes later, 1 day after the original post[^][v]#0
(Citing a deleted or non-existent reply.)
It's only bashing to the person who wants to buy it.Who ever say's it's a 'bad' buy seems heartless to the one who wants it.
(Edited 30 seconds later.)
Pandora joined in and replied with this 4.6 years ago, 3 days later, 4 days after the original post[^][v]#0
I love the no nonsense, no bullshit approach. You remind me of me, and I totally agree with you.