Oooh… why do I bother?

I somehow (tag surfing) accidentally ended up on a blog the other night called “The Ultimate Goal”,  specifically a post entitled “Why Atheism Does Not Exist”.

Some young man there, Adam Smith, was basically preaching the old “let no man be without an excuse” (for going to hell, that is) argument – because he claims that ALL people, miraculously, really DO believe in God.

Yeah.. okay…
Tell that not only to all the atheists, agnostics, but also to all the people of other religions who don’t believe in the same god as his bible.  Not to mention all the third world people who don’t have the energy or time of day to learn about God because they are too busy starving to death. Apparently, they ALL KNOW they are wrong… and are either living in denial, or because they are just plain defying God on purpose and don’t WANT to follow his rules.  I guess, that latter bunch must relish the idea of a permanent retirement home in a a fiery eternal pit of torment.

Anyway – I don’t know why I Read the rest of this entry »

Is Disney evil??

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  Read the rest of this entry »

All is fair in love and conversion…

Another post at “de-conversion” got me thinking.  The post is called “My life of proselytization“, this time from HeisSailing…   

In his post, he said:

 “I witnessed the Gospel of Jesus Christ for most of my adult life”. 

Now, I was much younger  than he was when I was a full force believer.  But, I believe I felt just as strongly.  I believed it all.  I went around trying to “save” all the kids in my neighborhood… but, my main mission was to save my own father.   

HeisSailing made a comment about getting his mom to come to church:

“I would try to convince my mother, once a committed Christian and now a practical atheist, the error of her backsliding ways. I even got her to go to church with me a few times, but not before informing the pastor that I was bringing her and if he would not mind directing a word or two of his message her way.”

This really reminded me of how when I was a young girl, I would be pressured into singing or doing “specials” in front of the church.  Then, I would be asked to put the pressure on my father to come to church to see me.  After all, I was “Daddy’s little girl”, didn’t he want to see me perform?  So, he did come… for at least the first few years of “specials”. 

Each time he said “yes honey, I’ll come see you sing” –  I would report back to my mother.  Then my mother, her friends, the pastor, and my brother and I would rejoice.  He’ s coming!  Hallelujah!  And we’d all pray hard every day until the day of the “special”, that when he came… THIS would be the time the lord would come down and bonk him on the head and turn him into the perfect Christian father and husband.  When it didn’t happen… we’d go back to plan A.  Try, try again.  Repeatedly I was put in this position of trying to save my own father.  For years. 

Eventually, my father stopped coming to every “special” of mine.  He knew the deal… and he didn’t like being approached by the pastor and pressured each time he came either.  It was like the whole church was looking at him when he’d come.  “Here comes that atheist husband and father!”.  They could’ve sold tickets to see the freak atheist!  LOL  So, I can’t blame him for not wanting to come – even at the time.  He probably also sensed the pressure being put on me, and didn’t want to be a part of that either. 

I know it was very hard for him to eventually start telling me, “no honey, I won’t come see you sing”.  I would then have to report back to my mother that I had failed.. he won’t come… I’m sorry.  She would then freak out and get very upset.  She made me feel terrible when he didn’t come.  She’d make me ask him again and again.  And, then they’d argue and she’d try to make him feel guilty for not coming,  and make ME feel guilty and like he didn’t care about me in the process.

Eventually, I didn’t WANT to keep singing either.  (surprise surprise!).  Mostly because I didn’t want to keep pressuring my dad and going thru this.. and because I was starting to have my own doubts about all of it.  Not only about my beliefs, but I started wondering if I even had a good voice or not!  (loletinf!;)  When I finally stood up for myself and said that I didn’t want to do a “special”, I suddenly didn’t feel so special anymore.  Not just my mother, but the church leaders also made me feel really bad.  Like I was a quitter… giving up… back-sliding… and, they then put pressure and guilt trips on ME asking me over and over when I would sing again.  My mother even said something like, “how is your father ever going to be saved now??! “. 

Looking back, I can’t believe how much plotting and scheming it all was.  The pressure, fear, and guilt used! Unfortunately, since I was in it, I understand their thinking and putting the pressure on my Dad.  They really felt it was their duty and apparently rudeness, politeness, respect, and common courtesy fly out the window when you are trying to save someone’s soul (and do your Christian duty ).  This is bad enough. 

However, what really gets me (and I don’t want to sound whiney here, but) is how could they do that to me?  I was a little girl.  A little CHRISTIAN girl who wanted to believe all they were teaching.  They played me.  They used me.  How could they put that kind of pressure, guilt and fear on me?!?

 And, when I say “they”, it was NOT just by my mother.  It was also her friends, the pastor, the choir director, the church leaders.  What kind of people scare the crap out of a little girl telling her that her father, (who she loved wholeheartedly and was a GREAT Dad) was going to burn in hell?  Tell her that over and over?? Which is bad enough… but, then tack on the, “unless YOU can save him” part.  ??  And we prayed.. and prayed…  And I cried… and cried…

I just don’t get it. I don’t get how adults, in their right minds, could think this was an okay thing to do.  ??  The “RIGHT” thing to do??  It makes me mad still when I think about it, and leads me to the only logical conclusion I can think of, and that is that they ALL were not in their right minds! 

HeisSailing wrote:

” I then became exhausted from witnessing. I was exhausted and drained from believing that I and my small sect of Christian brethren have the exclusivity on truth and everyone else, no matter what their beliefs, are going to eternal torment. I was sick of believing that I was on the narrow path of righteousness, and my loved ones are on the wide path leading to destruction when in many cases, they are just simply much better people than I am.”

This is a huge part of why I eventually didn’t believe and don’t believe in any one religion, or in religion or God at all really.  Not only because I can’t fathom the idea of my own father going to hell (which is a biggie, I admit), but, also ALLLLLL the other people.  It can’t be.  It makes no sense. 

HeisSailing then wrapped up his post by saying:

“Then I became sick of that guilt, I became sick of that arrogance of exclusivity, I became sick of looking at our life as a trial from God to see if we believed the correct doctrines, and I refused to accept it anymore.”

Like him, I also “became sick” of these same things…  The eternal dangling carrot, and the constant fear of hell. I am glad to be rid of them.    

PS – If you haven’t already – I suggest you go read HeisSailing’s post in full, as he writes much better than me and makes his points with much better reasoning…

Take care,

~smj

Sometimes you just gotta laugh… (Mom reads my Diary)

So, when I was 17… I came home one day to find my diary on my bed.  Not burried in my closet where I left it… but, on my bed.  Worse yet, there was a long letter in it, written TO me, from my mother. 

YIKES!  Can you say, Panic??

I had kept this diary since I was about 11.  It had EVERYTHING in it.  I would write pages sometimes, and it was in a big 3 ring binder.  I later learned that it took my mom a week to read it… before letting on she had found it. 

 Now…  can I blame my mom for reading it?  Not according to her.  She said, I must have wanted her to.  But, the fact that I had it hidden in the deepest darkets corner of my closet didn’t seem to say that to me!?

The weeks immediatly following were a big turning point in my life.  It was when I finally had the guts to break out from my double image of a life…  but, not until going thru a bit of hell first. 

There were some pretty trying times…

First of all, I woke up in the middle of almost every night for several weeks, to find my mother praying over me in tongues, and anointing my forhead with oil (vegetable oil to be exact, and she’d be painting a cross of it on my forehead)…  accusing me of all kinds of outlandish things.  I was a nervous wreck for a while… couldn’t sleep… couldn’t eat… lost a lot of weight (the one GOOD thing!).

Yes,  mom had read my diary and found out I had lied, and had sneaked out my window, that I had been drinking a little, and heaven forbid – that I secretly did NOT like going to church anymore but was going because I felt like I HAD to. 

Really, there wasn’t anything that bad in my diary… I hadn’t even had sex yet…   but, you would’ve thought she read that I was in a Satan-worshiping-sex-and-drugs-cult or something.  ?? She wanted me  to go to the pastor with her and to repent, ask forgiveness, “drop all my worldly friends”, and basically admit I was the biggest f!#@-up on earth. 

For once, I stood up to her.  

I refused. 

The biggest thing that helped me to do this, was the “dropping my friends” part.  No way.  She called me a hypocrite, and I told her she was right… and that I HAD been going to church only for her sake and that I should not be going, and so… I wasn’t go to go anymore.   And, with that she…  well?… can you say “freaked out”?

She didn’t believe anything I said… and the fact that I got good grades, and didn’t get in trouble didn’t matter.  Yup –  my mom went on a mission to “save me” from my heathen friends, the brainwashing of my father, and all my sinful worldly ways.  

Ahhhh… well… 
Sometimes… you do have to laugh.  Here’s a good example of a such a time:

Ok – So, right around this time, I came home one day, and my Dad was sitting there, all serious… holding a little copper mug, and a little test-tube water bottle. 

I was scared.  Uh oh.  What had mom told him?  What was happening now??  She told me she wasn’t GOING to tell him anything she read in my diary, because she said “he couldn’t help me”.  So, I was confused for a moment…  what was up?

Dad said to me, “Do you know what this is?” in a very stern and serious voice -as he showed me the mug and test tube…

I said,  “yes
…. feeling relieved a little because this was something he DID know about… sort of… and it wasn’t anything bad. 

 “Well? what is it for??”, he demanded… “your mother found it in the basement.”
His tone was accusing… as if he had caught me red-handed at something really bad. 

Me: “Well… Remember when I “found” that hamster than I wanted to keep years ago when I was like 12, and you wouldn’t let me keep it?”

Dad: “yes??”

Me: “well?  remember, I told you that I hid it for a while under my nightstand and nobody ever knew? But then I finally gave it away… and you never knew about it until I told you about it years later??”…

Dad, looking a little more relaxed and a little confused himself now, “yes…?”

Me: “well, THAT was the little cup that I had in his home…  and the tube was part of his little water bottle.  See?  there’s still a piece of litter stuck in the cup.  I must’ve hid them in the rafters years ago after I gave him away”. 

I was still confused.  But, my father began laughing uncontrollably.  And, teasingly calling out to my mom  – who was lurking around the corner, eaves-dropping.  He asked her to come and  tell me what she had told him. 

My mom was not amused.  She had that glazed over crazy look in her eyes.  Her eyes darting back and forth.  I knew immediately she thought we must be ganging up on her.  She woulnd’t answer him and stood there looking like she was going to explode. 

My father didn’t care.  He was relieved… and laughing still…
and between laughs, he said,
“your mother told me she found this in the rafters in the basement, and that it belonged to one of you kids… and that it was for smoking some kind of dope.  She thought, you put stuff in the tube, heated it in the cup, and inhaled it when it came out the tube thing”.

With that, I also began laughing… hard.

 And, my mother did lose it.  She screamed at us, “Well, how was *I* suppose to know that!?!?!”

It never dawned on her that, perhaps, she could’ve asked before making up such a crazy thing.  I wondered how many people she had already told.  Then, I didn’t care.

 This was around the time I decided that I just didn’t care what she thought anymore or what the rest of the church thought either… of course, deep down, I did care… but, I began telling myself at that point that I didn’t… that I shouldn’t… and I tried real hard not to. 

For months I came home, wondering if she had told my Dad anything, and if so, WHAT she would tell him.  I was very bervous.  Eventually,  I realized that even if she DID tell him anything “bad” I did – that he would have to take my side.  He knew she made up things, I know he did.  I also figured he couldn’t ground me for something my friends did, or something I had done YEARS earlier.  So, eventually, I got over it…  and stopped worrying about it. 

 Years later, I told my Dad about what happened when she read my diary.  He was mad that I never told him when it was gonig on.  He said he would have “made her stop:.  

Hindsight…

====
 A few other pretty funny things my mom accused me of?

  •  snorting the butane refills that were for my cordless curling iron… (she kept stealing them from me and throwing them out).
  • being bulimic
    (I had lost weight… but, it was because she turned me into a nervous wreck and she made me feel sick all the time and I couldn’t eat much, not because I was bulemic.  I absolutely hate throwing up.)
  • going to meet my “connection” –
    when I had no idea what one was.  She obviously thought I was a drug addict, and I would have to show her receipts of clothes I bought for the prom to prove I hadn’t been buying drugs.  Usually this was in the middle of the night… when I could barely think.
  • being a whore that would never be satisfied by the touch of a man until I repented and became a child of God again. 

Okay – that last one wasn’t so funny…  especially since I had never even had sex when she said it.

So, maybe not so funny… but, still… ya gotta laugh…. at least I had to… and still do.  What are my other options? 

~smj