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Belief Brings What?

By Mriana --

I have watched my mother since I came out to her last November and it appears that statement ‘know God, know peace’ is completely false. Last November, when I told my mother that we do not share her beliefs, she said, “I just want to see you all go to heaven.” To which I replied with, “You’re welcome to your beliefs, Mother, but we do not share them.” In this case, we do not share a belief in a god, heaven, hell, or any human concepts thereof.

Be AfraidImage by Gabriela Camerotti via Flickr
Recently I came out to her as a humanist and told her my older son is a professed Tao Buddhist. I do not think I have ever seen a grown woman act like a frightened child in my life, but she appears to be truly frighten by the idea that her descendants are not Christian.

In response to my written statement, I received a series of brief notes, which I have now discarded. Everything from, “As a Christian mother, I am disappointed” to “I am praying for you” to “Because I am a Christian mother, I love you and deeply disturbed by this.” All of this after she looked up the definition of the word “humanist” in the dictionary. She admitted that the dictionary did not say I do not believe in God, but rather stated that I believe I do not need God. I am not sure what dictionary she is using, but sadly, she does not comprehend the definition of a humanist. Now she is up to using a friend’s encyclopedia and saying something about it saying nothing about eternity and something about a “ticket to heaven”. She is making no sense what so ever.

This woman, who admitted years ago that she had dreams of burning in fire as a child, really does appear to be a frightened child. She is so disturbed that she admits that she does not remember what the name of the views my older son holds because she threw away the letter I wrote; otherwise, she would look that up too.

Up until now, I have remained silent through all her brief notes of fear and anxiety about all of this. I was tempted to tell her that humanism is a non-theistic philosophy based on reason and compassion, without the relying on the supernatural. Unfortunately, she would probably hear the same thing as she read from the dictionary with that definition. Because of that, I decided to copy off some information about humanism, Taoism, and Buddhism and mailed it to her.

My older son refused to make any suggestions as to what I could send to her concerning his philosophy. He is taking the Wu Wei position- in action as action- because he believes she is not ready to be educated about our beliefs. I disagree. I think we should at least present the information to her and leave it up to her as to whether or not she wants to be educated.

I added a note saying that I understand her point of view and I also understand she is very frighten because she does not know anything about our philosophies, adding that humans are generally fearful of they do not understand. I tried very hard not to write in a condescending manner, even though I do see her as acting like a very frightened child, which I find very sad.

It is sad when one is so well indoctrinated, ignorant of the world, and the various views thereof, that they begin acting like a child, if not worse than a child does. She is disturbed only because she knows of no other worldview except her own and does not accept any other worldviews. She is sadly ignorant and uneducated.

Secondly, I find it funny that she truly believes that prayer will change our minds. Nothing fails like prayer, as the Freedom From Religion Foundation says often. Thirdly, I find it very sad that she believes so strongly in the myth hell that she is climbing the walls with fear and is confusing fear with love.

I find it very difficult to understand how a person can be so superstitious in the day and age of science, but I am talking about a woman who has never been educated and will never educate herself. She and her sister truly believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of God. They do not see it as a storybook full of myths, written to a specific culture nor can they see the tribal thinking of the stories. In fact, her sister laughed and said, “I don’t know where scientists get their ideas. It isn’t in the Bible,” when I was talking about Evolution.

It is very sad, that people are so frightened by centuries old mythology that dates back long before the Greek god Hades. I just do not understand how one can be so frighten about what happens to a person after they die that they begin to act like scared children. Personally, I find it a very wonderful thing that we will nourish the earth when we die, just as it nourished us when we were alive. We do not live on forever, but in my opinion, life would become quite boring if we did, even if we were to live in some mythical place.

There is one thing I am very happy about and that is, I have spent a lifetime thinking for myself. While I never expressed all my thoughts to my relatives, I did not buy into the whole myth, so much so that I have an overwhelming fear of a multitude of things. It seems to me she has more fears than I can list or even fathom.

This paranoia is not only a God virus, but it is also most definitely a mental disorder, in my opinion. I cannot understand it any other way. I feel sorry for my mother because she is so infected with the God virus that she is paranoid and suffering from more regression than I think I ever experienced just remembering my traumatic experience in the Evangelical setting.

I found my mother’s situation even sadder when I told a friend, who is also a Christian, about my mother and her religious fears. My friend exclaimed, “She did buy into the whole package, hook, line, and sinker!” Yes, she did and now, just as Bishop Spong stated about being born again in his YouTube video: , she is very much still a child. She never grew up and is very much controlled by an authoritarian system that is older than the Dark Ages. Her behaviour is beyond imagination to me. I never dreamed a grown woman could behave in such a childish manner, extremely fearful, totally ignorant, and uneducated. I honestly do not think I could make this stuff up, but there is for me to observe and I honestly feel sorry for her. It is really sad that a grown person can have so much fear of a myth.

Once again, I am the one who is the adult, unfettered by childish stories and fears, just as it has always been and will probably always be until she dies. I can put the information out there for her to read and educate herself. I cannot do much about her well-ingrained fears, but at least I can try to educate her. However, I think it will be like the old saying, “You can lead a horse to water…” Therefore, I have a feeling I will be dealing with a child-like mentality for a very long while. How long, I do not know, but it seems as thought it is going to be a very long time and I can only hope that I can avoid being condescending to her. How do you tell a 65 year old woman, who has been so infected by the God virus, and indoctrinated since birth, “There, there, dear. It is alright. You have nothing to fear, because this is it and the truth is, ‘the Church fired its furnaces hotter than anyone else’. It’s all just a story, just like The Wizard of Oz and Hell is for children. It is time to grow up and put aside the fairy-tales and childish fears”? I doubt that one can, not without making the person extremely angry because they are being condescended and patronized. I do not think anyone likes that and one should avoid it, if possible. However, the temptation to do so is very strong, especially when the other acts are very much like a fearful child. Just wait until she figures out that non-theism does mean atheism. I might need a straitjacket for her.

From my observations, I cannot see how belief in God, with all the trappings thereof, brings one peace, especially when Christians behave in such a manner towards those they say they love. It is obvious to me that my mother is traumatized and terrorized by superstitious ideology and terror is not peace. In my honest opinion, she is confusing fear with love, which it is not. To me, it sounds much like the idea of pain and love being one and the same, which it is not. I feel sorry for her, but I cannot help her and I just have to watch this all play out in the hopes that she will eventually calm down and be saner. However, while she may eventually calm down, I doubt she will ever be sane and will continue to mistake her fearful superstitions for love. Compassion, in my opinion, is more loving, as well as more mature, than fearful superstition.

Unfortunately, I see her behaviour getting worse long before it gets better, especially the more she starts to comprehend. My only question is, how long will it last? Secondly, how long can I go before I end up saying, “You make no sense” and causing her more befuddlement? With this last note, I was tempted to write back and say, “Mother, you make no sense. I have absolutely no concept of what you are referring to and I find your fear irrational.” I am trying hard to avoid saying that, but that does not mean I am not tempted to do so. Whatever the case, she does not know peace and is climbing the walls with anxiety and fear currently, all because she has little knowledge of anything except Evangelical Fundamentalism. As I said before, I feel sorry for her, because her mind is filled with nothing but myth, with little knowledge of reality, so I fail to see how knowing a man-made concept brings peace to a person. Obviously it does not.