Thursday, July 26, 2018

To my Fundamentalist Parents

I wish you could understand me. I wish we could connect and really relate. After all, the word "relationship" has the very word "relate" in it.

But the truth is, this will never happen the way I would like. I do understand you...but you will never understand me.

Your religion....your religious delusions about so many things will hinder you from truly understanding me. After all, these delusions of yours are used to define me-- to determine who I am, and, more specifically, why I am the way I am.

You allow a largely fallacious set of views to characterize me-- even before asking me about anything.

When you allow an ancient book (and your preferred interpretations of it) the ability to determine everything around you-- why everything is the way it is and why people behave the way they do, you are bound to get a very distorted view of the world and the people in it.

The Christian religion isn't very different from other religions in as much as it has built upon assumptions about a number of things. One of thoes things is the "Inerancy of Scripture". There is this assumption that the Bible is free of errors and that it is divinely written and inspired and so it is the source that a Christian goes to in order to determine all things. If the Bible says something about science, then, it is that account that is taken as authoritative and true, even if it happens to go against a natural/scientific account.

The Bible does not say anything specific about the natural world but it does seem to say plenty of specific things about the "spiritual realm"--claims that conveniently can't be tested or falsified in the first place--because, after all, these are things that are not part of this world. They are beyond this world. How nicely convenient to be able to escape the necessity of providing rational thought and arguments for such beliefs.

I love you but I often feel sad about our relationship. I see so many other parent-child relationships where the parents are just happy to be with their children and share a relationship with them--not incessantly longing for their children to be converts to their particular ideology. Not constantly worried that their children will end up in hell. I know these thoughts are on your minds at all times. People that you know have conducted themselves in this life FAR WORSE than the average person but are guaranteed a spot in heaven, simply because they expressed faith--while I, your disbelieving daughter, will likely go to hell.

When I asked you the other night if the Jews would be in the same place as their killer, Hitler--in Hell, right? You made reservations for them. You didn't seem to let this make you feel uneasy about the theology you uphold. You were able to suggest that "Well we don't know everything about God and his plan. We know so little.". You can use that same logic for me then. You can rest assured that I won't be going to hell no matter what I think or believe.

 Loreen thinks the same way. We met for coffee a few days ago and during a pause in our conversation she said, "Renee, I'd like to get serious with you. You probably know where I'm going with this already....but I'm concerned about you. I'm concerned about your kids. I think about you a lot and how you've lost your faith...I think about how it must hurt your family...your parents! Your parents must be so worried for you. You know there is a heaven and a hell and there's a God."

Hearing her admonishment didn't bother me for one second. I didn't feel uneasy or "spiritually bullied" because I've heard it before and I really do understand how Christians think (because I once thought the exact same way!). Because of this, I can have empathy for Christians and their response to me. They mean well but it does get tiresome to deal with people inside a box--who have no capacity to see beyond it. Now that I've stepped out, I can see beyond the box...I can still though, understand exactly how they think.

1 comment:

  1. This is just _so_ sad. Religious morality is a dead end - with all the rules predefined, it is inadequate for the complexities of the modern world and doesn't provide an ethical basis for new rules.

    You're absolutely right, though, that _you_ have to - and have the tools to - take the moral high ground and make allowances for them.

    It still sucks, though.