The biggest problem I have w/ my mom is that she has spent 20 years gleaning through and researching different religions, so her circular reasoning is SO elaborate and not tied to a single, easy to discredit dogma. It's amazing i can still think enough to write this the way my head is spinning right now...
Eventually what it came down to is that we reached a stalemate. She provides examples by all the spiritual teachers she went to and the amazing things she witnessed that I have no explanation for. She half sold me on all things except when I brought up choice. Her experiences with the teachers just baffled me...
There, I plowed right through her thinking and finally felt comfortable with my atheism again. She never understood my argument or her circular reasoning and I can accept that, but at least I feel better about myself now.
She's such an incredibly complicated theist. She actually really made me think hard all the way through because her arguments are so unique and complex.
That's really the beauty of theism. You only need one chip in the wall to make everything come crashing down. Her examples with the spiritual teachers rather disturbed me though... I don't know what to make of them. I won't settle for the easy answers though.
Unfortunately we ended on rather bad terms.... I tried to explain to her that atheism is very similar to agnosticism and they can coexist...
At this, she looked up the definition of atheism and then hammered again and again that atheists are "against god" and if they are so agnostic "why do they fight against him?"
I say: We're not against god. We're against religion. Religious dogma hurts people in real ways that we can see. Personal beliefs should not be a basis to hurt others.
She ignored this as the only irrational part of her argument and continued to preach about how atheism is proud and defiant and unfounded.
I feel like I could dismiss her so much easier if she wasn't so smart and if she didn't grow up agnostic. Her beliefs are nearly rock solid. She doesn't put up with most retarded things about religion and agrees that people who follow dogma are not good.
Then I say: they follow their immoral values exactly the same way you do yours. Satanists make a lot of self-correcting choices to find their teachers. Their methods of even selective following hurt people.
"Those people don't follow the right path"
"How do you know? You're only lucky your experiences led you to your perception of the good path!"
About then she got horribly angry because she thought I was defending satanists and I got frustrated after her renewed claims that atheists were "against god."
I AM SO SICK OF DEALING WITH PEOPLE WHO CAN'T TAKE THEIR OWN EMOTIONS AND BIAS OUT OF A RATIONAL DEBATE!!!!
whew... just needed to vent... thanks for putting up with me if you read this far!