Author Topic: need some feedback please  (Read 1435 times)

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Offline cablebandit

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need some feedback please
« on: January 27, 2013, 11:04:36 AM »
Let me preface this with admitting the obvious. I have terrible grammar, sentence structure, language skills and vocabulary. It severely limits me in getting a point across. I wanted to post the following thoughts on my Facebook after these thoughts woke me up at 5am this morning.

I think I am really here to rant because my wife and daughter (atheists) have both told me NOT to post the following on my page. It pisses me off  that I feel I can't post it due to the inevitable you get the task of being my emotional tampon.

Dean and Tina are my brother in law  and sister in law...Gracie is their beautiful 14 month old child. We have a great relationship even though I am atheist and they are VERY Christian. I saw them all yesterday for a birthday party and dinner. It was a wonderful time.

 "Yesterday I got to see my beautiful niece Gracie look at the world through the eyes of an atheist, just as I do. Gracie has no belief in any gods at this time. She doesn't believe in Jesus..Allah...Buddha..Ra..Zeus...none. She is by definition an atheist at this moment. Yesterday, she smiled and laughed while exploring her world all the while learning...gaining knowledge like a sponge soaking up water and what a beautiful sight it was.  Gracie does not understand good/evil....right from she occasionally needs to be told a firm "No" when she is about to get into something that she might break or be harmful to her. Dean and Tina are awesome parents and shower her with love and affection. Gracie is their child and they love her and treat her the way that you would want all parents to treat their children. BUT, there will come a day when Gracie will be taught that she is inherently flawed...she will be taught that she is a sinner and not worthy of her fathers (God) love unless she worships and is saved by a God that she had no evidence of up until that point. She will be taught that God drowned almost everyone in the world that did not obey him. That is going to be a hard concept of love for her to grasp versus what she had experienced as love during her life up to that point.
 Adam and Eve were like Gracie was yesterday. What they did was disobeyed their father by eating the fruit... seeking knowledge about things in their surroundings that were put there by their father in the first place. They didn't know good from evil...right from wrong...they were just told "No". Eating the fruit after being told "No" was their crime. I saw Gracie touch a nick-knack on the coffee table that was put there in the first place by one of us. Tina told Gracie "no" and a few seconds later Gracie touched it again. With a little firmer "no" Gracie decided to move on and explore something else in the world around her and all of that was forgotten. That "punishment" fit the "crime". Not once did it cross anyones mind to tell Gracie that she is now no longer worthy of our love....that she will now surely die as well as her next 10 generations of children, grand children, great grand children, etc. Nobody ever thought for a second that she is now flawed...a sinner...deserving of burning forever in the fires of hell, separated from our love.
 Gracie is the sweetest baby you could ever hope to have in your life. She embodies love, happiness and innocence. What really makes me sad is that she will be taught by these same wonderful parents (and i do sincerely mean wonderful) that she is so much less and so is anyone else that hasn't been saved by Jesus. She will be taught that atheists like myself are  going to hell and burn forever because we aren't "saved" by this same Jesus that she had no knowledge or evidence of until she was told of him. Surely, one day, after being raised as a Christian, she will ask if I am "saved". I will have to explain to her about the lack of evidence for her god as well as all the others that have been proclaimed. At that point she will look at me differently....she will immediately place me in a category in her mind of a sinner that is going to hell and deservedly so according to her beliefs. That will be a very sad day for me. I hope that I will have the mental faculties to recall the feeling of awe watching Gracie when she was a young atheist discovering the world around her...smiling....laughing..loving...seeking knowledge. That was before she was indoctrinated into a belief system (without being given any choice in the matter) where we are all flawed and destined for death because Adam and Eve were seeking knowledge just as our little Gracie was yesterday. "

Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: need some feedback please
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2013, 11:29:49 AM »
You're right about everything, but you need to let go. We live in a world that is divided up into familial units, with the parent(s)/kid combo being considered the most important one. And just as you wouldn't want someone coming in to your family and advising with a heavy hand that you raise you child in a way that is opposite of what you want to do, your can't be that heavy hand either.

Our culture doesn't have tools for this. Your very understandable frustration is evidence that there is no peaceful avenue available.

Your best bet is to be a great uncle whose love and kindness and generosity are an important addition to little Gracie's life, so that when she reaches an age where she starts to understand the jesus crap she will experience a huge disconnect between the religion story and her experience with you and your family. Something won't make sense, and she'll probably end up questioning why she is supposed to think less of you when you are always so kind and loving.

So let go of your frustration and relax into this thing. Be happy that Gracie is already a great kid. It is far more important to feed her love with more love than it is to disrupt her world and that of her family over this major difference in world views.

A full frontal assault, using caring and kindness and love, will flummox your enemy here, which is ignorance. Not your in-laws. And remember, your decency will confuse them too, because it is inconsistent with their assumptions on atheism. Be that inconsistency between what they think non-believers are and who you and your wife and your daughter actually are. And have fun with Gracie, by being her mostest favoritist uncle ever.
What I lack in sophistication I make up for with other shortcomings.

Offline cablebandit

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Re: need some feedback please
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2013, 02:58:53 PM »
Thanks for the time consuming and thoughtful reply. I was talking with my wife soon after posting this and had an epiphany. Just as you said, the best we can do is to be a great aunt and uncle so that you can see the disconnect between her teachings about atheists and her reality with them.

Offline wheels5894

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Re: need some feedback please
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2013, 02:59:56 PM »
I agree with PP. We have no possibility of interfering with bringing up of another couple's child regardless of the familial relationship. In  this context I would suggest that the beautiful little girl will have to brought up by her parents in their own way, with their own religious ideas and so on. You will be there for her and will be able to enjoy watching her grown up though.

There may well, however, come a time when she will start to question for herself and to ask herself about what she has been taught and so on. Maybe she will as you and maybe you can help her. On the other hand, it may be that she will grown up going along with what here parents teach her but, inside, not caring one way or another. A lot of young people are like this today - religion is quite irrelevant to them and they ignore it. If pushed they might be encourage to say they are atheists but the idea doesn't interest them.

Either way, just enjoy the girl growing up - they do it rather fast so keep watching! Oh, and you writing style is great - just keep posting here, we have interesting discussions and its a chance to get back at Christians too.
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline Nam

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Re: need some feedback please
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2013, 05:16:04 PM »
Children look up to their parents, ar least in the beginning. Though many here have stated she may question later on in life about her religion, I feel the opposite. Everyone comes to the point of questioning things (whether they wish to admit it or not) but in such a reality where your parents, your friends, and the constant indoctrination by such people, and the sociable air of churches; it's highly unlikely those who question will actually leave. Mainly out of fear.

Those who left as adults probably were able to cut the cord from being away from such constant indoctrination yet the few of us as children who were able to break away did it from varying reasons. I think when children break away they keep it to themselves 'til their older. Also, that their parents are accepting of them no matter what, and don't force them to believe what they believe. My parents were like that.

I mean, I realized when I was 13/14 years old but didn't come out 'til I was 18. My brother came out at 20 (he's 2 years older than me, which means he came out right after I announced to my parents I was an atheist). And a few months later my sister, at 13 came out to our parents. 2 Christian parents with 3 atheist children. And we were only able to because our parents supported us, in the end.

« Last Edit: January 27, 2013, 05:20:04 PM by Nam »
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Offline Iamrational

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Re: need some feedback please
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2013, 05:33:56 PM »
I am in a similar situation with my brother's family. I have a few points I would like to make and a few suggestions.

Our kids are all similar in age from 5-10 years old. They get along extremely well. His kids are made to believe and even are forced to read their bible verses and pray frequently. They actually sleep with their bibles but are not forced to do that.

My main suggestion which I cannot stress enough is leadership by example.

I did not want to explore theology with my kids at all because I wanted to leave the whole thing up to them when they felt they were ready. Well that didn't happen (I mean this in the worst way). Early on family and friends taught my children behind my back. They were taught right away god is real and awesome. They were told they must prey. What drew the line for me was the day my 5 year old son said we wanted to die so he could go to heaven. You cannot imagine how much this crushes an agnostic atheist father. So I said enough and I was FORCED to educate my kids about religion. I had every intention of leaving it alone. Sad for me but whatever.

Now back to leading by example. His family can see how respectful and compassionate my kids are. I don't think it is a stretch to say that. Mine give hugs all the time they ask and answer respectfully. They hold doors or offer to help with their cousins chores if need be. I don't even allow them to say stupid or hate just because I don't like the roughness of those words. So I mean they behave so well around his family that it is hard to find faults. I do this by constantly teaching them that we must respect everyone and everything around us at all times, EVEN when that respect is not warranted or returned.

I feel this applies to you because in order to keep your relationships with them healthy you must attempt to stay away from confrontation that is unnecessary. I don't wish to tell my brother's kids god is not real and I don't want to tell my brother either. He occasionally wants to discuss it and you will get tempted. I say to my brother, bro I really respect you and your family. You raise wonderful kids and you are an amazing brother and person. I feel a certain way about life and you feel a different way. We feel pretty strongly about our views and I don't feel that will change, nor do I necessarily wish them to change. I would prefer if it is OK with you that we just stay away from that area and stay with all the great aspects of our relationship.

I think this is a much better way to approach it than serious discussion or confrontation. Reason being is if you come off sour, seem bitter or sad, or even come off hostile they may decide they don't want to hang out with you anymore. So in the end you will be despised not because you are an atheist, but because you are annoying to be around.

Offline Willie

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Re: need some feedback please
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2013, 05:44:09 PM »
I completely agree with the consensus. Do your best to be a good uncle and a good example. But beyond that, just let it be.

I have two nieces who were raised JW, and are now both atheist. I don't know whether I had any influence at all on that, but if I did, it was only in the "good example" sense. I never made any active effort to persuade them.