the most honest answer I'm likely to get

My mom and I are both going through therapy over her mother, my cult-leader grandma. So, tonight we had another conversation about religion, faith, faith-healing, Paul, Revelation, and the apocalypse. She told me about her sister's teeth being miraculously straightened, and that she believes in prayer. (My grandmother was a faith-healer, hence the heavy focus on this.) I told her that people of all different faiths can report miraculous healings, that they experience the sensation the Christian world would describe as "stirrings of the Holy Spirit", and that when I tried to strengthen my faith, when I looked for the confirmation I thought would surely be there that my faith was more credible than the claims of Islam, or Hinduism, I couldn't find them.

Towards the last five minutes of it she expressed... unhappiness with my atheism. So I said, "I love you. And we can disagree on what we believe and still have that." She agreed. I continued, "If you would like to - several months or several years from now - I would be interested in doing a book exchange. I'll read some apologetics, and you could read books from a different point of view." She said she appreciated my willingness and since it wasn't time-sensitive, she wouldn't say no outright, "But I don't wanna lose my faith. It gives my life meaning and purpose. I wanna believe."

I guess that's really what it comes down to. So I told her I'd back off, and said goodnight.

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Comment by Angie Jackson on May 10, 2009 at 2:34pm
@Sean. Wow, that sounds like a cheerful diddy. I'm sure reading that herself only solidified her commitment to reconvert and "save" you, so you could both avoid dying from the grief of your lost damned soul. My mom's more of a CS Lewis type. She may never change, which is frustrating because she's really bright and analytical in every other area of life. She has a doctorate in psychometrics for fucks sake!
Comment by Sean Baxter on May 10, 2009 at 12:45am
I did a "book exchange" with my mom which involved her telling me forcefully to read an incredibly insulting book. The book described story after story of moms killing them selves because there sons were brain washed into atheism. The main thesis however was that atheists SHOULD kill them selves because without God life is meaningless! The book is called The End of Reason. Which is suppose to be a response to Letter to a Christian Nation; Even thought its clearly a play on The End of Faith. I asked my mom if she was willing to read Letter to a Christian Nation since her book was a response, unfortunately she refused.
Comment by Angie Jackson on May 8, 2009 at 8:46pm
Once I realized I was an atheist, I intentionally waited six months before coming out. I wanted her to see me over a long period without knowing the difference, and see that I was still the same person (just talking a lot more about things like reason and logic and rationalism and science). I think I've got another six months ahead of me, for her to see that I can still be happy, deal with stress, have meaning in my life, etc. Maybe then I can broach the subject again.
Comment by Gecko, of Richie! on May 8, 2009 at 2:03pm
I think dealing with religious parents is the toughest of all issues when ones atheism comes to the forefront. It is for me. But loving your mom, thats a good thing. And I agree with you backing off. Good idea about the book exchange I may try that with some friends of mine.
Comment by Sean Baxter on May 5, 2009 at 3:49pm
I'm jealous, that is one of the most honest answers i have ever heard a theist make. Now you know her concerns which are real and addressable. Just as dumbo was convinced that the feather did not give him the ability to fly you have to show your mom that she does not need her faith to have meaning in life. You can express this In many ways but your love for your son is a great place to start. Nice talking to you the other day,.. good luck!



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