I just arrived home yesterday from visiting my parents. My mother asked my wife what the FSM emblem was on my car and my wife told her to ask me. My mother has always been one of those people that assumes I actually believe in a god but that I am mad at him and atheism is my rebellion... for the last 12 years. So she asked me about it and over a couple of beers I explained FSM briefly and my view of the world, society, and the universe. She walked in thinking she was armed in the conversation with everything she KNOWS about god and religion. I think she walked away with many thoughts to ponder. The following is some of the back and forth. It kind of felt like I was on the stand, but I don't know that she has ever gave me the opportunity to talk about atheism before.

She brought up prayer and said if my son got sick I would pray to god and he would listen. (overseer)
I said why would god make my son sick in the first place?
"Well if he was you would pray."
I would have internal thoughts hoping for him to be better, yes. I may even find myself in the chapel of the hospital, but not to pray to a god, rather to have a place to think. If someone hears voices when they pray, it's either you sub conscious or you need to get checked out. You can find answers when "praying" (trying to play to her perceptions), but it's no different than meditation, you had the answers all the time, you just had to focus and think through.

"If monkey's evolved at the same time we did why aren't they as advanced as us?"
They took a different path, and who is to say we are more advanced? Yes we have technology, but we are also the first species who has the ability to wipe out their entire civilization. Humans may not be the most efficient beings from an evolution stand point.

"Where do morals come from then?"
Based from a quote in a book a recently read; If you think that in the absense of god that you would murder and steal, than you are not the kind of person I would want to be around. If you admit that without god you could still be moral, than you have already defeated your argument. If you were only moral to please your god than he would see through that and call BS.
"Morals aren't part of evolution..."
Sure they are, evolution is based on ensuring that your genes keep being passed on. In order to do this, you have to make sure those in your "tribe" survive and live well. This makes way to charity and kindness. Also, even monkeys know that if you wrong someone you can expect retribution from the one you wronged and the entire pack. They do this as self defense, an one would be wise not to do wrong to another for the same reason.

"Don't you want your child to think someone is watching over them so that he doesn't do wrong?"
Nope. I want my child to do right, because he wants to do right, and not do wrong because he knows it is wrong.

My friend's grandmother is from Germany and gave us a collection of original fairy tales translated to English. If you aren't aware, many fairy tales, especially German ones, are originally very gruesome and violent. I half joked to my mom the next day that since we won't be reading our child the bible, this book would work for us in the scaring and scarring of our child. She said that there is no violence or anything that would scar a child in the bible. I advised her to go reread the bible.

My mother thought I was an atheism out of spite and without knowledge. I think she is analyzing her own faith now (which wasn't my goal) and now has a stronger respect for my beliefs and how I will raise my child.

To be honest, I rarely have to explain my beliefs (or lack there of) to anyone because I don't bring it up to random people. If someone starts talking religion to me, I usually say that I don't wish to have a conversation about religion at the moment. This usually shuts people up without question. My mother and father are the only ones to ever bring it up to me or criticize me about it. My father once said that posting that I was an atheist on my Fbook profile would come back to haunt me. I told him that a man should be respected for standing by his convictions and not hide who he is, he couldn't argue with that.

(I actually posted this in another forum today as a response to a question, but I thought I should / could share it here as well.)

I worship dog.

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"Where do morals come from then?"

I get this often from religious friends or family. I always mention the rape, murder, slavery, misogyny and other authorized offenses in the bible. Seriously, to question one's moral capacity based on the "moral authority" of this particular "god" is almost beyond belief, but it happens often in my conversations. Typically, after they consider it for a moment, they say something about it being from the "Old Testament". I have to ask if this is the same "god" or not.

I have been contemplating informing my parents (who are in their 60s and live in Florida) of my atheism. This thread has strengthened my thoughts.

I have read The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins and Godless by Dan Barker. These two books alone have been the reason for my contemplation. I am very interested in finding out how others have handled talking to their parents about their personal beliefs.

My dad is a professional writer and an excellent debater. My mom will probably just simply tell me to shut up.

I think I can handle my dad (I believe it will be very hard for him to debate quotes or paraphrases of Mr Dawkins or Mr Barker). It's my mom who will be the one to piss me off.

She is the reason why I haven't brought it up to them, thus far. I don't want to hear, "I don't want to hear it".
Morals ? Ask them who they would rather trust -

* a person that is moral only out of fear of eternal torment, or promises of eternal paradise, or

* a person who is moral just because they believe it's the best way to live
All of my family has known for years my views on religion, politics, society. etc. I try not to debate them. I feel if someone wishes to believe in a god, they have their reasons. Comfort, security, lack of intelligence (in some cases). Either way, I try not to push my views on others, (even family) just as I would expect others to respect me, and not push their views. Only if my methods on parenting are questioned would I feel the need to get my point across.

As for Projectile vomit (my husband). I have wanted him to tell his family for years, not just about his atheism, yet who he really is (sparring any raunchy details, of course). I think almost every parent has the right to know who their child has become.

KUDOS! It is very refreshing to read your words. If only everyone could think as rationally as you. You are a breath of well needed fresh air.
That's great that yours went so well. Mine went in the opposite direction as far as my parents go. Hopefully you can keep the conversation going, or wait for it to arise again, as it surely will. In my case I had to shut it down ASAP and avoid it at all costs if it comes up again.
I agree with you 100% Steve. Not every situation requires a debate, or a challenge.




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