A friend of mine emailed me today regarding being worried that her brother in law has gone over the deep end with religion. This is interesting, since this friend is a fairly new convert to Christianity herself. Yet, even she see’s there’s something not right here… She said that she came back from a visit with her family for the holidays. And, that her brother in law is becoming more and more religious. She said she couldn’t help to think about all the stories I had told her about growing up with my mom.
One of the things she was upset about was that her young neice and nephew were not going to be allowed to play with most of the presents she and her parents had bought them. She said they are probably all in the garbage by now. Apparently, Disney is evil…. and they are not allowed to watch Disney movies or play with Disney items because they have witches and evil spells. ? She said they are afraid to watch anything, and my friend thought this was all a bit extreme. She asked if my mother was the same way about stuff like that when I was a kid, etc.
I wrote back:
My first reaction when I read your note was a deep sigh and a sad feeling for the kids. It’s a terrible thing to live with so much damn fear of everything all the time… and that’s what it is. Fear. Fear of hell. Fear of anything “evil”. Fear that you are not doing what God wants. It’s ridiculous.
So, she won’t let their kids watch Disney? Come on. Does she know the witches are PRETEND!!?!?. It’s a freaking STORY people. And, not for nothing, but do you know how many gory, violent, and sexually deviant stories there are in the bible?? You don’t hear about those ones as much. I’m sorry.. I know it’s suppose to be “the good book”… but, there’s a lot in there that I don’t particularly want to have to go into detail with my kids anytime soon. And talk about scary. ?? What about all the sacrifices, demons and devils, HELL, daughters sleeping with fathers, babies being slaughtered, famine, plagues, wars. Sheesh!
But, unfortunately, I am not TOO surprised either. Because, yes – My mother was like that. She saw evil in EVERYTHING. I’ve often joked about how we could be watching the old 50’s sitcom “Happy Days”, and she would walk in right when someone kissed or something – and she’d say “THAT’s DISGISTING!!”.
I laugh now… but, it was rather nerve-wrecking when I was a kid. It’s terrible to always be on the lookout for evil lurking around every corner… to feel like you’re always doing something “bad”, “wrong”, ”disgusting”, or “sinning”. I always had one finger on the channel changer on the TV and on my radio in case my mother walked in.
When you are really young – you believe everything your parents tell you… and you naturally want to please them. What happens when you can’t? I was afraid and worried a lot. As I got older and more skeptical (thanks to my atheist father and common sense), even though I didn’t believe everything my mother did… I still was always worried about how she would interpret things, or what she would think about something (or me). It forced me to still see everything as “evil” – knowing how SHE thought. Talk about living on egg-shells. For young children, this is abusive – if you ask me. Intentional or not.
Since you asked… if I were you – I would probably try to talk to my brother. Ask what he thought. How or why he was “okay” with the things that I thought were pretty “out there”. Tell him how I felt and saw things… what worried me and why. Take it from there.
When it comes to something I think is really important – I tend to prefer to speak my mind with the hopes that it MIGHT help… and knowing I at least “tried”… even if there’s a bigger chance that it might just tick someone off. But, that’s me…. and I have a big mouth. Actually, that was how my Dad was… and my brother’s are to… so, it probably would make it easier for me to approach them.
Although, I remember having it out with my one brother once – years ago. They were on the verge of a divorce, and while I didn’t really want to get involved, I felt like I needed to try to help. It was not easy even for me to talk to him that time because I knew he didn’t like what I had to say… and it didn’t go over well at the time… and we did get in a big fight. I do think it actually helped in the long run and am glad I did it. But, yeah… it doesn’t always help… and there probably were times I should have just kept my mouth shut. Still… never stops me. 😉
Maybe I can call you later…
I am almost afraid to call her. I doubt highly she will actually try to reason with her brother, and doubt even more that even if she does that it will help. I almost am afraid to talk to her on such matters, because I figure it’s a matter of time before her family or Christian friends tell her that she shouldn’t even BE talking to me since I’m not Christian and therfore can’t help her.
I can’t help going back to my initial reaction to her words…”a deep sigh, and feeling sad for the kids”.