My family is insane…and they are starting to make me insane too!
The below image is just a VERY tiny snippet of my mother’s Facebook page. Click on the image to see it in all it’s full-sized glory.
So tell me…what the fuck am I supposed to do with that? It’s every day. Very VERY rarely is something posted that isn’t of this nature. I can’t have any interaction with her. What am I supposed to say? Should I just continue to try to bite my tongue and ignore it? On several occasions I’ve been mere microseconds away from de-friending her. But, of course, that would cause all kinds of problems. I really have no kind of relationship with my parents anymore. Would it really be any loss? I can’t believe that I grew up in this world! No wonder there are days where I feel like I’m nuts.
Seriously…what do I do with this? My family is insane!
So, following the Haiti crisis, by now we’ve all heard the wonderful comments made by Pat Robertson.
Well, I decided to post that video on my Facebook page, knowing full-well that it would cause quite the stir. Well, it most certainly did. Fortunately, most of my free-thinking, atheist, & agnostic friends spoke up the most. So the ‘fundies’ were very much in the minority this time. The thread ended up having over 50 responses on it. The intensity level was definitely at a high, but certainly was what I had expected when I posted it.
The one comment that got me really going was from a girl who I dated when I was in high-school. We’ve had little to no interaction in the almost 20 years since we’ve broken up, and that includes the last few months that’s she’s been on my Facebook friends list. So when she decided that this post was her opportunity to comment, this is what she wrote:
Sorry but reference to your comment about no loving God would allow this to happen to his creation…(and I am saying without knowing what was actually said on that clip)…God is loving. So is my father. Both will punish me to correct me when I do something wrong. God has the power to effect more-remember the flood? or turning people into pillars of salt? It’s a wake up call. Where to you put your trust? Of course I grew up with you and know you already know the real answer-unless you have taken a blow to the head. But I do see that your post has comments with true emotion. I’m just glad I’m right.lol
Well, the part about taking a blow to the head really sat wrong with me. I mean, who the hell is she to think that it’s ok to think, let alone SAY, something like that to me on MY wall in a public place. I realize that I open myself up for some criticism by posting something like this on my page, but ad hominem attacks are just simply uncalled for.
So, I did what I always do when something is on my mind. I write. I wrote a long email response to her and sent it. It was last week when I sent it and I haven’t heard anything back yet. This is what I wrote:
I think I need to clarify a few things in regards to your comment on my post about Pat Robertson. And, trust me, I’m not trying to cause an issue, or offend, or anything of the sort. I’m not even interested in getting into the specifics of your particular argument. I just think there’s some heavy misconceptions about what I think, KNOW, believe, or otherwise. And, to be perfectly honest, I was quite offended by this statement “Where do you put your trust? Of course I grew up with you and know you already know the real answer-unless you have taken a blow to the head”. I’m truly hoping that was a joke…but I sense that it wasn’t (being as that entire thread has an intense tone, as it should). The implication is that the only way that I could possibly think something other than what we grew up believing was if I had some kind of problem with my brain. I’m not sure how I am NOT supposed to be offended…but I’m trying very hard not to be.
The reality is, I’m a VERY different person than the one that you knew growing up. Fundamentally, the same, but I have an entire different worldview now, and I couldn’t be happier about it. The specifics aren’t important at this point (unless you actually want to know), but the long and short is that I no longer buy into the Christian teachings that we were brought up with. I’m Christian by culture only, and that’s ok. It’s a part of who I am. But as for anything supernatural? Nope…I’m not buying it anymore. It was not a knee-jerk decision by any means either. I’ve spent years of searching and digging with the real hope that I would find something that would allow me to keep my faith. I continue to dig even to this day. But when it’s all said and done, I’ve come to the conclusions that work for me.
What’s most interesting about this whole thing is the reactions of some of the folks that I’ve grown up with. Some are curious and ask why. Some don’t understand. And others are downright offended. That last one just mystifies me. Why in the world can’t people accept that not everyone is the same? In my opinion, the world would be a very boring place if that was the case. Anyway, I’ve had lots of email conversations with old church friends over the last few years/months and I’m always ok with discussing these topics, as long as they are respectful conversations.
Where I put my trust should only matter to ME. Why that’s a concern for so many other people is not really a mystery to me (I know the motives), but it’s curious the extent that people will go to try to change me. I’m living in the happiest years of my life right now. And that’s due, to a large extent, on my letting go of the beliefs that I had when I was younger. The feeling of relief when I finally admitted it to myself was almost physically tangible. So, this is the way it goes…I’m happy, have a great family, good job, I don’t commit crimes, life is good, I conquered depression, I focus on the positive…why isn’t that enough? Why can’t I just be happy? Is that too much to ask? Those are obviously rhetorical questions, but you get my point and I’m not actually concerned about what anyone thinks about me. I know I can look myself in the mirror and finally be cool with what I see.
At the end of the day, we are going to have to agree to disagree. But I’m hoping that there will be some mutual respect for each other’s worldviews. I don’t have any issue with yours, and all I expect is the same in return.
Since it seems that Facebook is the place where most of my interaction with believers takes place (and they love to send me private emails about god), I figure I’ll post some of the interactions here for whatever parts of the bloggosphere would like to appreciate them. (the name’s have been changed to protect the guilty and the innocent). I did not get a response after my reply, so either my argument was good, or this one just gave up on me! 🙂
Know What You Believe
2 Timothy 1:12-14
All people have a belief system, whether they realize it or not. Even those who claim there is no God have faith that He does not exist. What we believe affects every area of our lives and shapes every decision we make, yet few of us take the time to really think about what we accept as true.
All belief systems have a foundation. Some people base their convictions on what fits their lifestyle, reasoning, and desires. However, Jesus calls His followers to adapt life to their faith in Him and the authority of His Word.
Anytime we add other philosophies or ideas to Scripture or pick and choose which parts of the Bible to believe, we create our own version of faith based on personal reasoning. God’s Word is the only true and reliable foundation for belief, because it contains the recorded thoughts of an eternal, all-knowing God. All other concepts must be measured against it
to determine their validity.
Knowing what the Bible says is essential for developing a sound system of beliefs founded on the truth and wisdom of God. This world will offer you a variety of philosophies which sound good but are laced with lies. A faith anchored in the Scriptures is your protection against deception.
Each time you face a problem or decision, search for the answer in Scripture. Begin your day by reading the Word and asking God to help you understand what He is saying. He loves communicating with you, and as you spend time with Him, He’ll open your mind to know His thoughts.
Thanks for thinking of me. I appreciate it greatly. That being said, I think you know that I can’t just let that rest as is. It’s just not in my nature.
So, here’s my thoughts…
“All people have a belief system, whether they realize it or not”
I can’t really argue that much. It’s true. But what’s also true is that those ‘beliefs’ vary greatly from person to person. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, most atheists don’t claim that ‘there is no god’. That would be rather arrogant to make a claim like that. However, we believe that the chances that there is a god are so remote, that it’s really not worth being concerned about it. I personally reject any concept of a ‘personal god’ who knows all our thoughts and who controls every aspect of life in the universe. The concept is just absolutely absurd to me. I’d probably be willing to say that MAYBE there was some kind of higher power that started everything off, but then I believe that that would be stretching the definition of the word ‘god’ too far.
As for the scripture quoted. You can find encouraging words in all sorts of ‘religious’ and non-religious texts. Frankly, I think that the morality expressed in the bible (if you REALLY read it), is awful. It’s hateful, divisive, murderous, etc etc (I could site examples…but I just don’t have the time right now).
Ultimately, as I’ve said before, I find my strength within myself, and the people around me who I love, in order to get through tough times. I don’t need to look to an imaginary friend to help me through. I try not to be cocky about that, but that’s just the way I work. I understand that the world/nature is a brutal place, and that I am ultimately in control of what I can control, and the rest is just going to happen. And I’m perfectly ok with that. After billions of years of things working that way, who am I to try to convince myself that it’s otherwise?
So, I’m not sure what your motive is for sending this, as you have to know what my thoughts/response will be, but like I said at the beginning, I do appreciate you thinking about me and being concerned. I’m great though. Heavily overworked…but great.
Talk to you soon!
My best friend’s Mother posted this as her Facebook status today:
“The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful, and has nobody to thank. – Dante Gabriel Rossetti”
I thought for a while before commenting on this. I was going to just let it go, like I do most everything else that the ‘fundies’ post on FB, but instead I decided comment with this:
“There lots of people that I can thank”
Pretty harmless and innocent in my humble opinion.
Shortly after my comment, she follow up with a:
And I responded:
“Oh c’mon, I could have gotten all offended and defensive :)” (yes, I did use the smiley emoticon on my comment)
Shortly after that, my wife called me to tell me that my friend’s mom had deleted my comment. I said “All of them?” She said that she had only seen one of them. I told her there were a couple and i would check it out.
Low and behold, when I logged in, all the comments were gone, but her original post was still there. It makes me angry that believers are so small minded that they can’t even SEE how something like this could be offensive. Or in this case, I believe the intension was TO be offensive. I would love to repost on her post again, but in respect for my friend I’m going to let it go. As frustrating as it is, my relationship with my friend is more important than me making my point to his mom, which is probably a futile effort anyway.