Monday, February 19, 2007

Bonus post for Monday.

I'm stuck here in bed. While that's normally not much different from any other day, today I can't read and BBC News is making me sick to my stomach (yes...I'm American, but I think the BBC news gives better coverage of world events). This flu is kicking my ass and giving me watery eyes and a cough that would rival a three-pack-a-day smoker. SO... it's question time!

Proud to be an Atheist writes: If you havne't already, any chance of you blogging about dealing with family members that try to by-pass you and tell your children about god even though they know how you feel?

I've only had one family group try to bypass my authority and go straight in for the kill. My ex-in-laws (note the EX part) are a bit cheesed that Possum's 1 and 2 aren't being raised Catholic. Whenever the kids go visit them, they take them to mass. It use to annoy me, but now that the kids are older - and more skeptical in their own rite- it's kind of humorous. I see it this way: my possums have to navigate this world and this society. They don't get a pass to AVOID religion because they are the product of atheist/agnostic parents. They need to see it first hand. The ex-MIL has put the full court press on P#1 and #2 to take CCD (I think they call it ERE now), but... since she only sees them twice a year, the most she can do is howl about it. My ex-spouse gave up all rights to P1 and P2, so they don't even have a legal leg to stand on. Yet... the bitching persists.

The other family members have, for the most part, backed off. My parents were (keyword: were) very devout. No longer. Mom goes to an odd wedding or baptism, but I don't know her beliefs. My dad just doesn't care. DH's parents are Catholic by heritage, but the FIL is as close to atheist as you can be without actually being an atheist. MIL is a holiday Catholic who really dislikes discussing religion. So... I guess we're lucky that the kids haven't been pounced on more than they have.

The majority of pressure comes from their friends. And, I have to quote P#2 on this one: when P#1 said one of her friends wanted her to go "see her church" last weekend, P#2 said, "Oh and I suppose if your friend wanted you to jump off a bridge, you'd do that too?" ;) HA!


Cap'n Murkat said...

Hope you get better soon. Everyone over here has come down with something recently (myself included). :-(

I've never had anyone try to get me to attend church or anything. I suppose I have been quite lucky. My older relatives all are/were quite religious, but my mum never really has been. She came to the conclusion that if there was such thing as god, pedophiles would not be allowed to harm children, and that hell would not be a just punishment after they happily lived out their lives. Fair point i suppose.

I have a small number of friends that are religious, some just label themselves as X or Y, others attend church, no-sex-before-marriage, etc. However it has never been an issue in the slightest.
I have visited many churches, however this was to find out about the history they contain. They usually have a lot of local history and stories, which are fascinating. (Eyam, Derbyshire, UK is a brilliant example).
I do enjoy finding out about religion, but I've never found any of it in anyway convincing. I only see it as a way of giving people hope, controlling the masses and usually a way to allow someone to profit.

How does the pope live in such luxury, knowing there are thousands (if not millions) starving in third world countries? Surely he should set an example by not sitting on a HUGE wealth, and actually benefiting people with the power he has. The whole thing is a farce! I'm not saying he should live a life of poverty, but think of how many schools and water pumps he could fund, to help a villiage support itself. I know they do some work, but nowhere near as much as I think they could.

On a slightly unrelated note, two more links for you...

(was trying to find the second, and came across the first - good point about atheists though)

darrell said...

P#2's comment is priceless.

As an aside, I don't know about you, but I don't really want to "see" a church unless it's in Europe. American churches lack any (excuse the pun) soul, especially those genero-Christian, giant, white, steel, side-of-the-highway churches. Those things are abominations of architecture. I'm sure there must be a couple of pretty American churches, but I doubt P#1's friend goes to one of them.

Anonymous said...

I don't really want to "see" a church unless it's in Europe.

I've seen a few archetecturally interesting churches in the States. Some of the missions, here in Cali, are pretty neat. And, the inside of the Mormon Temple that I saw (shhhhhhhh!) was kind of impressive. But, you're right. They're nothing in comparrison with structures built in Europe and the Med.

Chakolate said...

I have the opposite problem. My (play) grandson's mother has no clear-cut faith of her own, but she says she wants him 'to have faith'. I absolutely do not understand this, but it's not my place to interfere.

But once when we were playing, DGS said, "I'm going to pray real hard and God will come down and *make* you do what I want!" I was so dumbfounded I just let the moment pass. God as a superhero!

I thought about it and later decided that if he talked about god again, I would ask him which god he meant. There are many, after all, and I thought it might be interesting to point that out. His mother overheard me ask him that, and put a stop to it. Again, it's not my place to interfere.

So we talked it over, the parents and I, and we agreed that if DGS mentions god again, I will simply tell him that I'm an atheist and atheists don't believe in god.

This is a much softer statement than I'd like, because 'atheists don't believe in god' makes it sound like the atheists are just being truculent. I'd like to say, 'Atheists know better than to believe in god.' But it's not my place. It's not my place. It's not my place. It's not my place.


proud to be an Atheist said...

**Apologies in advance, this is a little long winded and probably all over the place, sorry**

We have told our sons without trying to sound judgemental against my husbands family that while they believe in god, we do not. It is okay for them to have their beliefs, just as it is okay for us to have ours. I don't care if someday they find religion, but it's as plain as day that they are still too impressionable. Like I said before, a little alone time w/ Grandpa and they know all about Adam and Eve, and Jesus, blah, blah, blah...

There are times I wonder if my kids don't bring it up just to push my buttons?

I was never raised around religion, the one time I had to go was during a family reunion when I was in my early teens and was bored out of my mind. I went my senior year in h.s. with a friend to an overnight youth group thing, that was fun, but once again during the sermon, I could have cared less about what was being said.
My husband tells me how lucky I am for that as he was force fed religion from the day he was born. He grew up in a bible belt small town in the Texas panhandle.

I have never had to defend my position to anyone before. It has just never been an issue, even in school.

We are also playing out scenarios of how difficult it will be getting together with his family once our niece is born. My brother in law runs the christian fraternity at a college, so everything is about god, he over does it in our opinion.

We know this little baby that isn't even born yet will be telling our kids as soon as she is able to talk that we will be going to hell, that her cousins will be going to hell because of their parents and yadda, yadda, yadda.

My in-laws are probably going to have the kids for a few days this summer, and over the past few visits, they opt to not go to church while we are there, so I'm guessing it wont be an issue about them trying to take them to church. But I want to make sure they dont, any suggestions on how to bring up such a delicate topic. We have a lot of years ahead of us so it would be great to clear this up sooner than later.

Also this has made us a little hesitant in deciding if they would be a good fit for our kids should something happen to us. They are a little younger than my parents. Any thoughts there?

I guess I'm just tired of always trying to be the nice guy and keep the peace. As I have also said before, his parents are wonderful people, his whole family is and I love them dearly and couldn't ask for a better extended family.

I just don't want to make things uncomfortable, but I also know they need to respect our decisions of how we want them to be raised.

Andy Cunningham said...

Well, my views on this are pretty simple: any attempt to teach religion to a minor is pretty sad. If you can't convince people who are old enough to think for themselves, you're on pretty ropey ground.

Personally, I stopped believeing in god the same time I stopped believing in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.

Santini said...

I guess you're refering to the gay ultimatum report on BBC?

I must confess, I didn't know that TEC was much more open on the issue of gays and lesbians than the Roman Catholic Church, but then I also had to do a quick wikipedia run to get an idea of the Anglican and Episcopal Churches and their history.


Cheeto said...

Slightly off topic - I discovered at my batchelor party that if all of my friends were going to jump out of a plane and they paid for me to do it too - I would even though I never wanted to.

David said...

My family is Mormon, and I have a problem with my mother asking for the kids to stay the night on Saturdays so she can take them to church on Sundays. She always tells the kids first and asks me or my wife second, so we're complete jerks to the kids when we have to tell them no. This isn't to say that's the only time mom asks for the kids, but it happens fairly often.
My way of dealing with it has been to ask the kids after they go what they heard at church, and then talking it over with them. This can be really tough though, as it usually hits dead ends where I have to come out and say that Grandma and Papa are wrong in my opinion.
In every other area my parents are great, and even religion doesn't come up very often.

Leah said...

**sorry I'm a little slow on the uptake for this subject**

I don't really want to "see" a church unless it's in Europe...

The only other church I know of worth seeing in the States is the National Cathedral in DC, it is a total Notre Dame knockoff (they admit it first thing on the tour) but its the closest thing we have in the states that I know of to the much more impressive cathedrals in Europe. Of course the National Cathedral doesn't have so much soul as Cheesy American Charm (if you have a pair of binoculars and a lil extra time you can find all kinds of fun gargoyles, my fav'is naturally Darth Vader)

And PMOMMA, how did you get in the Mormon Temple? Do you know the secret handshake???

Anonymous said...

And PMOMMA, how did you get in the Mormon Temple? Do you know the secret handshake???
You mean the "signs and tokens"?? Yes. Well, as many as they teach a female.

My temple story is a long tale that would take at least four or five entries to do justice to. Essentially, I had a rebellious friend whose dad happened to be a recommend issuing Bishop in the LDS Church. At the time I went through, I wasn't aware that doing so was totally and completely against LDS policy.

darrell said...

The only other church I know of worth seeing in the States is the National Cathedral in DC

I hear you on that, I'm a DC native. That was the one which made me qualify my comment...that and the fact that I'm sure there are some nice old missions in Cali or one-roomers up in New England.

But why are fundie churches always giant soulless structures that look like malls? I guess they want their hordes of consumers to realize that, to them, religion is just another commodity.

Margaret said...

Chakolate, I agree that 'atheists don't believe in god' doesn't sound right, but I think the problem with it is in making 'god' singular, since that seems to concede one of the Xians main beliefs (that there is only one god to believe in). It would be more accurate to say 'atheists don't believe there are any gods.'

For atheists it is simple, what exists is the real world. For theists it should be very complicated: There is also a god or gods. Which one(s)? With what characteristics? There are thousands of variations to choose from, absolutely no actual evidence to help you choose, and, according to the theists, making the wrong choice will result in eternal torture. By any logic, theists should spend all their time in a frantic effort to decide which god(s) to believe in. The fact that they don't tells me all I need to know about their so-called "choice."