Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"My Mom" or "Why I dislike the Bible"

As I said in my last post, I have a great relationship with my Dad. Not so with my Mom. We don't fight, but I almost feel like it would be better if we did. As soon as a conflict appears, she shuts down. Stops the conversation. Changes the subject or stops talking. She doesn't do this because she is just a sweet person, not wanting to bring angst to anyone. From my perspective, it seems she just doesn't want to listen to anyone else. Nice.

She is a very intelligent person. She has an unending thirst for knowledge. She just seems to enjoy driving me crazy with her black and white view of life in the world. sigh.

From what others define me as, I am quite liberal. I consider myself to be more common sense based, but whatever. I do believe that for people to work best in a society, we need to consider the probability that most of us do what we do because we think it to be the best choice for all involved. Too vague? I think it's best to be polite and friendly because it makes me feel better, and I hope it makes others feel better dealing with me. I know many people who are very conservative who believe the same things that I do, (ie. human life needs to be protected) but believe in different methods of doing so (ie. I believe the human lives currently on the soil of Earth should be protected through social services and laws; others believe that unborn human life should be protected through laws and "on the soil" lives are whatever they turn out to be).

So I try to keep an open mind when I speak to people about different issues and how they view them (in other words, I try not to immediately think other people are idiots).

My mom stopped over to our house yesterday to bring my husband a late birthday present and a couple of fun "just because" presents for our 2 year old. We chatted about completely mundane stuff for awhile, but I struggle doing that and ventured into deeper topics.

I brought up the struggles that my book club had when reading and discussing the book "The Faith Club" (the authors are three women, each of different religious faiths, who got together to find ways to create books or resources for children of all faiths when talking about how to live peacefully together). My mother, being who she is, said something along the lines of "that's just some liberal ideal that would never really work". My irritation started, but I wanted to learn more about what she meant, so I kept going, and asked her if she meant that they couldn't create a book resource for kids, or something else. She said that "people with different world views can never be friends, at least not close ones." The end. Oh great.

So I continued on. "Well, I think that most people I know are the faith they are because of the culture and family they grew up in - not because they searched around and chose a faith against all others because it was the one they thought was best." She agreed that was probably true. (What? She agreed I could be right?) "I think it's too dismal to think that no one can be friends because they have different religious beliefs - I mean, especially in this country where, though most of the culture is Christian, all religions or non-religions are welcome." She brought up the Bible. (Here's where I get my hardened heart against studying the Bible.) "Then you need to go to the Bible and learn what you should do. It tells you how to do everything needed in life: marriage, divorce, remarriage, neighbors, laws, children, everything." Oh good, I can't make up my own decisions, but need to consult an old book to tell me how I should live my life, each and every step. Ahhh!

I asked her about the beliefs found universally in all the main religions. "What about the beliefs in doing your best to be a good person and doing things like caring for those less fortunate?" She said, "only Christianity and Judaism hold those beliefs - Hindus believe in family killing." "I think family killings are more a cultural problem, not something found in Hindu religious writings." "I don't know about that." End of conversation. She wouldn't keep talking about any of this because I had gone too far into an area that she had already decided was impossible. I can completely understand why my parents' relationship ended the way it did (in abuse, argument, and a coldness that still persists).

I pray everyday that I can keep an open mind about religion and politics. Both my parents have such narrow views of what is possible that it drives me mad.

As a kid, I thought that it was my problem that I couldn't get along with my mother. Maybe that was true then, and still is now. But the thing that scares me the most today, is that I don't have that special sort of connection with my young daughter. Most times, I don't understand what she's thinking or why she does what she does. And I pray that that lack of understanding doesn't mean that I will also be unable to develop and maintain a close and open-minded relationship with her as she grows into a woman.

1 comment:

  1. No, you know where she is getting her views. The Bible is a prisim for many people. Instead of reading it and studying it for them selves, the rely on anothers intepretation and live that view. That prisim is particularilay skewed in fundamentalist religion. (Whether you are basing that on the bible, the koran or the torah). If you look for commonality in religions it's there. Similar beliefs and ideas (like the authors of that book). If you look for disparities theat is what you will find. (Like a certain "pastor" we both know). Don't let her views stop you from studying if that's what you want to do. See for yourself what the words in it mean for you. It's true the foundation/template/guidelines for life are there. But most conservatists and fundalmentalists warp it to their agenda. People overlook that the most important parts of Jesus' teachings is to LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR. Love! NOT judging (actually, the Bible says not to do that), not hating, not only loving them if they are doing what you think they should be doing. Just LOVE. As is. As he loves us. Blemished and imperfect. Lead with love and people will follow. And you relationship with M will be different. And Sonia- no one understands their kids completly all the time.


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