My mother's currently on the road for work, and I gave her a call this morning to check on her. She starts the conversation out by reminding me of the Christian that I used to be, and this whole conversation becomes about me getting to Heaven... I love my mother dearly, but she seems to be convinced that I left the faith because the Christian school I went to was the epitome of hypocrisy and just generally unpleasant (once my eyes began to open up about somethings). When she really has no idea why I stopped believing and why I don't believe now and can't just make myself believe. She doesn't understand the complexities of what keeps me from just blindly going back to a faith that I couldn't go back to without lying to myself. She thinks it's because of what I suffered from and she consistently reminds me of how she suffered and that there are other people that have suffered worse. When she doesn't understand that it's not just because of my personal experiences. It's because there are people that suffer and have suffered much worse than I have. It's because there were so many questions that I use to ignore because I didn't want it to make me comfortable that I can't ignore anymore.
She told me to remember all the things I said that I believed God had done for me. Remember all the times I was in worship and what I felt in those times. Remember how God "revealed" Himself to me. But the thing is she doesn't understand the concept of not just believing something because of subjective emotional or dreamlike experiences. She'll never understand how that's not enough for some people. Understand that I say say she doesn't understand, I'm not implying that she can't understand. I just mean she's not willing to understand because she's afraid to really think about the questions I pose to her.
She's told me to "come back to God and worship Him and believe in Him again before He has to put something in your life to bring me to my knees." And I asked her "why would God need me to do any of that, and why is it justifiable for Him to create something like Hell for the people that won't do it? How is that loving?" And I asked her a series of questions, and she kept saying that she didn't know why He allows some of the really horrific things that happen to happen, or why He makes something like that requirement, but she's not going to question God until she dies and makes it to Heaven. She'll ask Him then.
And the conversation we had really solidified something for me.
"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy
It must be very hard for you, A Thousand Words, to have the people closest to you refuse to even try to understand your thoughts and feelings on this matter. I think people unjustly assume that by willing you so strongly to bend and give in to their way of thinking is just in your best interest so it then becomes a relentless brow-beating against your stubborn will (in their mind). They may mean well in their hearts and minds but it puts so much stress and pressure on the relationship, I would imagine, that it is surely to suffer. My heart goes out to you in this situation.
I know that your mom loves you very much but she has allowed her own fears to blind her to your needs and concerns, in my opinion. In her mind she is just trying to help you, of course, but actually it's only hurting your relationship. Trying to force someone to accept something as truth will never work. Until she realizes that you are your own person making your own decisions about what's best for you and your life and learns to respect you and your choices, then it's unlikely to get better. I'm sure you know this already but getting her to understand and accept it is a different story altogether.
People fear what they do not understand. She is afraid that the points you make about why you just can't blindly accept certain things as fact anymore will start to make sense to her, and what then? She fears that perhaps she too will change her mind if she listens to your "side" and for some people, that thought is terrifying. For some people, their mindset and way of thinking is their one and only comfort and they refuse to show compassion for those that feel differently than they and will actually respond with more brow-beating and insistence to get you to "come around". It's likely not about you at all but more so about them and the fears they carry.
As in the quote you posted, some people wholeheartedly believe that if they just don't think about things or question, it keeps life simple and uncomplicated for them, and often in their case, that's enough. For some of us though, it doesn't work that way. Some horses aren't meant to be broken, ATW. As Mark Twain put it, "Whenever you find yourself on the side of majority, it's time to pause and reflect." For some of us, this time of reflection takes us in a different direction than most, and that's OK...like it or not, world, it is what it is.
I wish you peace on your path, A Thousand Words.
Thank you. I really, really appreciate it.
Perhaps, you could say the same thing to your mother, you'll ask God when you die.
"Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it."
I hope she has the faith to trust. I know she is praying.
God be with you both ATW.
So you are saying ATW's mom didn't train her child properly? She wasn't properly indoctrinated? If she was she wouldn't be thinking and questioning what she's been told?
Did you really think it necessary to insult her mom? Well, I don't think it was necessary, but it was most certainly Christian.
“I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.” Gandhi
You are about as far off base as you could be. That's ok, we all misunderstand things at times.
I think ATW's mom did a great job. I am guessing she is a very caring mother who loves her daughter immeasurably.
What I meant by the verse was that she had done all she could do. She had trained up her child the best she could and now she had to let go and trust God to do whatever work He was going to do.
I assume ATW is a fine person. And I have no doubt her mother loves her endlessly.
I guess then you posted this
"Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it."
So as to show ATW that her mother had trained her to depart from the delusion of God? It's very confusing that you post that scripture to comfort someone. It very clearly says that if one trains a Child in a way he should go then that's what he will do. So, either her mom didn't train (indoctrinate) well or she trained her to depart from the delusion of God.
Which one is it?
So you are giving me the option of what I could have said?
I must now pick one option according to the best of your understanding?
Or I could try to explain it one more time for you, and if you don't understand, I could simply let it go.
It is in God's hands. ATW's mom did what she thought was best for her daughter. ATW is choosing her own path. According to the Bible, she may one day return to the things her mother taught her. Either way, I think she has a mom who loves her.
Leaving religion and the bible out of your argument, what exactly is your complaint against God?
I think she meant that at some point I'll likely go back to the faith because my mother trained me up in it. But actually, my mom didn't have much to do with it except making me go with her to church. I decided to become a Christian and became more devout than she ever was. But there are many reasons that I doubt I could ever go back to it. The most plain reason to me is the absurdity of some of it. And the fact that I would either have to force myself, and/or lie to myself.
It's funny how we don't see the absurdity of it when we are in it. But when we look at it from the outside it becomes absurd.
True. There are some nice things about it and other religions in general. But when you get down to all the doctrine and myth, it really loses it's coherence. And looking at it empathetically and rationally it doesn't make sense.
There is a big difference between rejecting God and rejecting Church doctrine. According to the bible I have read, Jesus Christ rejected church doctrine.
For the most part,,,, most arrangements made by atheist are arguments aimed at the church's and not at God.
It seems (from the ones we see verbalizing the most) that many people don't know how to separate church from God.
We can believe in God and not the book.
Am I going to hell if I don't believe the book?
Abraham didn't have a book!
I don't think Jesus refer to the scriptures except when exposing hypocrisy of the ones being addressed. According to the bible, we better question the religion we follow. Because, the way I understand it; it is better to follow none than to follow the wrong one. Unquestioned faith isn't real faith IMO.
You make a very fair point here Jerami. Only if one doesn't believe the book, one doesn't believe what is said about Abraham or Jesus. Without the book, you making your own version of God for personal reasons.
The thing about faith is that it's not to be questioned. I've had many people tell you I just have to believe. I just have to have faith. Well no I don't just have to.
"You shall have no other gods before me.
That includes the ones you make up to suit your needs.
Do you really think using scripture on me will win me over? You understand that the Quran says that Jesus was only a prophet, should I use verses from the Quran to teach you something?
You do realize of course, that verse and your take on it applies to every single religion, now and throughout history?
Missed this a while ago. My point exactly. I think, even without the book, or any information obtained from within, any person can have a relationship with God.
For the most part, ... that is what the book is talking about having happened.
Let's take Beth here for example. Are you saying that without that bible ever being written and without anyone ever describing God to her she would/could still believe the very same version of God she has? The God that contains the Holy Spirit and Jesus and finds her keys when they go missing? Do you think if she grew up in Iran or in a vacuum she'd still have the same version of God she does now?
Just checking in .... got time for one.
I'm pretty sure she would still be, or attempting to get in touch with her higher self or vice-versa. Call a cucumber a cucumber by any other name and it is still a cucumber.
Ya don't need a dictionary to warm yourself on a clear winter day.
Write a book about the sun calling it the moon, ; and you still going to warm yourself on a clear winter day.
But, you can't call Jesus Allah, or Thor, or Zeus or Brahma. They are completely different gods.
But, you need one to communicate effectively, which is what these forums are about.
Write a book about calling Jesus Allah, and see what happens from the Muslim community.
I can't call Jesus GOD! Why not? ... How do you know Thor, Zeus and Brahma are different Gods? For all you know they are the same God as seen by different peoples in different demographics, throughout different time periods of history.
Maybe our understanding of something that we know is there has evolved as society has evolved.
My father had three sons and each of us sees a totally different individual. My Uncle called him brother. My grandma called him her baby. My Mom calls him "Baby" though thinking from a totally different concept. By any other name, my dad was the person that he was; whether it is his employer describing the kind of man he was or it be an ex-wife (didn't have on in reality) my mom, or his brother.
It will appear as if we are all describing a different person.
Point being ... My dad was a real person, but hearing all of the conflicting beliefs as to who he "Really" was, during any given decade,You would summarize that my dad is a myth. No one could have all of those different attributes.
Whatever we choose to call the higher self, it is what it is. When we ask who or what it is, and if it answers, it would probably answer, "I AM what I AM)
And yet, we know they aren't for a great many reasons.
Our society evolves when we move from ignorance and belief to knowledge and understanding, not when we change from one god to another.
And yet, you aren't describing a different person, because it is exactly the same person who talks the same, walks the same and has the same thoughts. That is not so with the many different gods.
Whoa. That was the best way I've heard anyone explain that.
Exactly, Beth would most likely be a Muslim, and if she grew in up in India, she would probably be a Sikh.
It is very doubtful Beth would ever acknowledge this as it would devastate her house of cards.
If I was born to African American parents, I would be black. If I were born with an extra chromosome, I would have downs syndrome. If I were born in Russia...
What does this have to do with anything? If I am chosen of God to be His child, so be it. You have just found a new way to say you don't believe in God? Ok, but I already knew that.
It shows well beyond a shadow of a doubt that geography has more to do with religious beliefs than anything else. Science doesn't work that way, it crosses all boundaries equally.
But, you weren't chosen, just like no one else is chosen to be God's child, it is almost entirely based on ones geographical location, hit and miss, random, chance, etc.
This is not a new way to say I don't believe, it is a way to show your beliefs are as valid as your geographical location on Earth.
lol... I don't see the argument.
It is very likely that my religion would be affected according to where I live. I would agree with that, as I eluded to with the statement I made about chromosomes etc.
I would argue the fact that I believe God has chosen whom He has chosen and He has the ability to reach any and everyone of the ppl He has chosen... however you disagree with that b/c you don't believe in God. So this did not appear to me to be a new argument, just a new thread to argue on.
Are you golfing in this weather or do you put the clubs away til spring?
But, that is the argument, so you obviously can see it.
LOL. That statement completely ignores the fact that there are other religions with their own gods who have followers that say exactly the same thing. So, you would therefore have to admit your God is one of thousands, or admit there are no gods at all and that religions are based on geography and little more.
I golf year round.
See, you forgot. I believe in God and His sovereignty, you do not believe in God.
My dad used to take me golfing, he was very good. I did not like golf much. I loved when he took me fishing with him though. That was the best.
You believe in a god that is based on where you were born, geographically. If science worked that way, it would be completely invalid.
The Jews believe in the same God of the OT that I do and they are still waiting for the Messiah.
Muslims believe in the God of the OT, though they do not attribute Him with the same divinity and they do not believe on His son, Jesus.
"Hindus believe in a one, all-pervasive Supreme Being who is both immanent and transcendent, both Creator and Unmanifest Reality." However they believe in many gods.
Buddhists do not believe in God at all, which is interesting, b/c in Acts 16:6 it says, " Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia."
So here's the thing... with *most of the world believing in one supreme being, that should tell you something. The thing is, the msg. gets distorted, that's why the word of God gives explicit instructions on not changing a letter of the word. It speaks on going into every nation until every one has heard the good news.
I don't now why it matters to you what religion I *would have been, had I been born somewhere else... I might have been a Buddhist, had I been born in China. Personally, that doesn't mean anything to me. Should God want to bring me into His family... He knows right where I am at all times. This is my faith, please don't let it concern you, I'm not worried about it, but if you wanted to know what I believe, that's it.
That statement tells me you contradicted yourself. There are thousands of gods throughout history, some religions have many gods.
LOL. Sorry, but that is not an argument and completely ignores the various, differing and often contradictory messages by the many thousands of gods who allegedly revealed them.
And, that would only show your God's message has been distorted, hence you believe in a distorted message. Notice how your argument fails?
Every other religions says the same thing even though their instructions are completely different than yours and the next religions. That too is a failed argument.
And yet, to the intelligent mind, it means a great deal in that your religion is as invalid as all the rest.
Your beliefs concern me a great deal because they get into societies and tend to affect me and everyone else who considers them invalid. Of course, another society has different beliefs and they affect those people, often negatively, because they are beliefs and not facts.
It's like you argued without reading my post. lol
That's ok... I still love you.
I addressed your points, perhaps it is you who can't follow the discussion. Or perhaps, that is just another lame excuse.
You and I both know that is also false.
You really are incapable of loving someone that is not related to you, that you owe nothing to, and that you're not romantically involved with?
Have you never loved another human being b/c they were simply that?
Of course, that's because the emotion of love is far more important to me than you. For you, it means nothing and is just another word bandied around like any other. You use if falsely, while I don't.
People aren't interested in strangers loving them, they are for interested in people offering respect than anything else, something most Christians are incapable of showing.
The assumption that someone does not know how to love or love well is such a massive guess into their personal life, that it makes the grand canyon look tiny.
That is indeed the problem with many Christians who toss around the word love without really having a clue about it. Sad, really.
And, I forgive you for pretending to love me.
Had a couple already, thanks, would you like a mirror?
Hi ATW. I had a conversation, or two, like that with my own mom before she passed. She raised me to think for myself, then became a little disappointed in where that took me. But, she raised me to think for myself. So, the outcome was inevitable. I appreciate the upbringing and harbor no resentment on the disagreements. I respect her for standing firm to her beliefs yet pity the emotional pain they inflicted on her.
That's the part that bothers me the most.
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