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PeacefulChaos

"If you deal with someone in your family who is a little extremely religious": a vent

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My grandma used to say "Some people are so heavenly minded, they are of no earthly good."

 

Heather, your grandma was brilliant.

 

PeacefulC, I know the feeling.  Tiresome.

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That sounds a lot like my mom.  

 

I love her dearly, but over the past few years, I've had to set more boundaries because it started negatively affecting my kids (e.g. "Mom, please do not say X anymore when the kids are present.").  A few holidays and activities have been ruined because of her comments.  Everyone and everything is evil when it doesn't jive with her specific views.  There is no gray.  So each time I have to set some boundaries, I brace myself - because she gets extremely offended and will be hurt for a few days (or weeks).  

 

Vent away.  :grouphug:

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My grandmother has gotten more like that as she has gotten older. Her and my 16 year old had a heated discussion over Christian heavy metal and tattoos. He stood his ground though.

 

But I would rather that than having my having my FIL, who is an athiest, gleefully tell me that he can't wait until my kids are older so that he can have "discussions" with them in the hopes of undermining their faith.

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What would I do?

 

I would run and hide. ;)

 

But if I couldn't avoid the person, I'd be pretty straightforward about asking the person not to discuss religion with me, and that we would have to agree to disagree on what was "worldly."

 

But I'm kind of snotty about stuff like that, so maybe you shouldn't listen to me.

 

If you're in a situation where you don't want to make waves, I guess the only solution would be to smile and keep reminding her that she can believe whatever she wants, but you're still going to do things your own way.

 

Sorry you're stuck dealing with this. It must be very annoying and uncomfortable.

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:grouphug:

my mil. for her it's more a lack of social skills and noticing social cues.  if it wasn't about religion, it would be about something else.

 

eta: my niece will play music mil doesn't like just to keep her in a different room.  I've been known to wear earplugs around her - she does drone so.  (dh asked me to just make sure my hair was covering my ears.)

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What do you say when the rants and comments begin?

 

If you are silent, they may be taking that as approval.

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My grandmother has gotten more like that as she has gotten older. Her and my 16 year old had a heated discussion over Christian heavy metal and tattoos. He stood his ground though.

 

But I would rather that than having my having my FIL, who is an athiest, gleefully tell me that he can't wait until my kids are older so that he can have "discussions" with them in the hopes of undermining their faith.

 

How AWFUL! :glare:

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What do you say when the rants and comments begin?

 

If you are silent, they may be taking that as approval.

I don't say anything. 

This person knows I disagree.  They've taken to not saying things QUITE as much when I'm there as when it's just DH, because DH always just goes, 'hmm...' like it's worth considering lol.  I don't say anything at all.  Considering I'm not a quiet person, they can tell that me not talking = me not agreeing.  ;)  They've even pointed it out before, 'Well, I can tell you don't like that idea....' I'm also pretty obvious with facial expressions and body language. 

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I know the feeling.

 

:grouphug:

 

Religion is supposed to help us to become better human beings in how we treat others.  Often this is the case, but not always.  :(

 

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:grouphug: :grouphug:

 

And may I say that your phrase "a little extremely religious" gave me my first giggle today? 

 

Thank you!

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Are you related to my MIL???  (((hugs)))

 

For me, avoidance is the antidote to crazy, but not everyone has that option for many reasons.

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Oh no. These people couldn't possibly know when the rapture is going to occur because the Holy Spirit told my exmil this information and made her promise to keep it a secret. So unless she's blabbed, they're just wrong!  :001_rolleyes: 

 

She even goes so far as to read a Bible that's all in Hebrew (which, btw, she can't read at all) and will periodically say aloud, "Oh, THANK YOU Holy Spirit!" and continue "reading" (looking at the words) as if the HS is somehow translating for her. Now, as I've gotten older, I've gotten more "live and let live" as far as others' beliefs go, but this really takes the cake. I'm pretty sure the HS would hand her a Bible in English rather than take the time to whisper the translation of the Bible in Hebrew to her. But, I can be heretical like that. 

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My grandmother has gotten more like that as she has gotten older. Her and my 16 year old had a heated discussion over Christian heavy metal and tattoos. He stood his ground though.

 

But I would rather that than having my having my FIL, who is an athiest, gleefully tell me that he can't wait until my kids are older so that he can have "discussions" with them in the hopes of undermining their faith.

 

 

I'm not a "believer" in the way the word is used. I *hate* exclusive minded spirituality. I believe it is evil.

 

So, coming from that persepctive, I wanted to say I'd support you in not allowing those discussions, even if it involved not having a relationship with Dad/grandpa.

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:grouphug: Oh my goodness, she must be so exhausted trying to be so righteous (her definition)! Sounds a lot like the Pharisees.  Where is the joy, peace and freedom found in a relationship with Christ? It sounds like she views Christianity as a bunch of rules, or as my pastor likes to say, "bricks in your pack."  She must not be a very happy person.  I'm sorry you have to put up with this!  Is there anyway you can share with her about the joy of Christ?

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That sounds a lot like my mom.  

 

I love her dearly, but over the past few years, I've had to set more boundaries because it started negatively affecting my kids (e.g. "Mom, please do not say X anymore when the kids are present.").  A few holidays and activities have been ruined because of her comments.  Everyone and everything is evil when it doesn't jive with her specific views.  There is no gray.  So each time I have to set some boundaries, I brace myself - because she gets extremely offended and will be hurt for a few days (or weeks).  

 

Vent away.  :grouphug:

 

You must be my long-lost sister. :P  My mom, during our visit earlier this year, was sure to tell me that Doctor Who is satanic and under no circumstances should I ever watch it again, period.  Stargate (her favorite show) is fine, though.  So, traveling through time in a blue box = Satan, while sentient parasites that possess people = perfectly okay.  Got it.

 

And she's always trying to get me to listen to her speak in tongues because she thinks I'll fall to my knees and repent or something.

 

Oh, and if my dd turns out to be a lesbian, under no circumstances will my stepfather allow us to ever visit again.  Ever.

 

And everything bad that happens in the world is because "it's the end times."  I swear, if I hear the phrase "the end times" one more time I'm going to lose my mind.

 

But my mom is sure to tell you at every turn how she despises "organized religion."  I guess hers is disorganized?  I don't know.  Visits home are always awkward, to put it mildly.

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I don't have many relatives and we don't see any of dh's relatives either (long story but let's just say our health and my dh's livelihoods kind of prevent any dealings with them and it is their choice).  Whenever I think how my kids have missed having cousins, grandparents, etc., I just have to stumble across one of these stories and I am back to thinking maybe it hasn't been so bad after all.  It really could have been worse.

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My grandmother has gotten more like that as she has gotten older. Her and my 16 year old had a heated discussion over Christian heavy metal and tattoos. He stood his ground though.

 

But I would rather that than having my having my FIL, who is an athiest, gleefully tell me that he can't wait until my kids are older so that he can have "discussions" with them in the hopes of undermining their faith.

Hey, he's waiting. Sometimes the uber-enthusiastic and inflexible Christians can undermine faith more effectively then any atheist.

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I wouldn't listen to it.  If she wouldn't stop 'd leave, or not get together in the first place.  Set boundaries.  Tell her no discussion of religion, period.  Can she find nothing else to talk about?  I'm a Christian, too, and I had a similar friend who would talk on and on and on about her extreme views.  She left our parish and I don't see her anymore.  

 

I realize it's different in your case because it's family, not a friend, but I would set boundaries.

 

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When it comes to the rapture issue I'm blunt enough to ask, "So.......Jesus doesn't know when it is [He specifically stated only God the Father knows] but you want me to believe that YOU know? "  Then I ask, "So what exactly are your views on what the Bible says about people making incorrect prophetic statements?" Anyone with basic OT knowledge knows the answer is, "public execution." An impassioned discussion of the literal interpretation of Scripture is not usually their response.

 

I have a few versions of difficult issues on my side of the family and with the in-laws.  Mostly, you just have to face reality.  People are who they are and they're going to do what they're going to do and you have zero control over it. You only control yourself. So, you have to decide 1) if you're going to have contact at all 2) if you do, will that contact be conditional, 3) if it is conditional, what EXACTLY are those conditions 4) when and how will you communicate those conditions to them, your spouse and your children 5) where are you going to go and what are you going to do if those conditions aren't met at any point during your contact.

Then you just have to do what you're going to do and know that the chances it will cause them to see it your way are slim to none.  Don't waste your life away from them by ruminating, regurgitating and reviewing how annoying it is when you're around them.  You're not around them-go forth and enjoy being away from the crazy.

 

In my family we usually just ignore crazy SIL's wacko cultist nonsense.  She says something crazy, everyone pretends they didn't hear it (including my oldest brother who's married to her) and we go back to our conversation.  She has a right to say stupid stuff and we have a right to ignore it.  Everyone thinks she's bat$h!t crazy and we all know you can't reason with crazy people.  We don't even try.

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Wow -- sorry! I don't think I'd be able to spend time with that person anymore! Some things I can put up with if it were just me, but with the kids present, I think I'd have to take some serious steps. Either no discussion regarding religion and life choices, or no gatherings. (I know it's easier said than done...)

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:grouphug: and if that didn't work, it was supposed to be the group hug smiley. I'm so sorry that you have to go through this too.

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But I would rather that than having my having my FIL, who is an athiest, gleefully tell me that he can't wait until my kids are older so that he can have "discussions" with them in the hopes of undermining their faith.

 

See, while it does seem as though your FIL means this in a harmful way, it actually is a *good* thing. I'd welcome that. I want my boys to be so firm in their faith that they CAN have a discussion with their atheist grandpa about it. How can that be bad? Anything Athiest Grandpa has to say should either be able to be answered by them, or else if they don't know the answer, it should spur them on to discover it. It wouldn't worry me at all. They *should* be able to answer for what they believe. How else do the know what it is that they believe?

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See, while it does seem as though your FIL means this in a harmful way, it actually is a *good* thing. I'd welcome that. I want my boys to be so firm in their faith that they CAN have a discussion with their atheist grandpa about it. How can that be bad? Anything Athiest Grandpa has to say should either be able to be answered by them, or else if they don't know the answer, it should spur them on to discover it. It wouldn't worry me at all. They *should* be able to answer for what they believe. How else do the know what it is that they believe?

My impression was that she is offended that her FIL is planning to intentionally try to undermine her by ridiculing her beliefs and trying to convince her children to turn against her in that regard.

 

He sounds awful, and if he was my FIL, neither my dh nor I would put up with that kind of garbage.

 

The FIL isn't looking for a healthy debate; he's trying to be divisive.

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I'm curious if this grandpa were Christian and said he couldn't wait to have talks with his atheist grand kids to try and undermine their non-believe, if that would be viewed as awful and divisive. Me thinks not, but that's because atheism is bad and Christianity is good so therefore he'd be doing a good thing.

 

My in-laws do this subtle passive-agressive thing when they make little comments about my kids' atheism. Whatever. It's fine with me. I agree with Bethany. I welcome the opportunity for my kids to really think about what their grandparents (or others) say to them about religion. It sparks great conversations. 

 

Peaceful Chaos, I know the need to vent. Welcome to my world of being surrounded by people who tell you that you have it all wrong.

 

 

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See, while it does seem as though your FIL means this in a harmful way, it actually is a *good* thing. I'd welcome that. I want my boys to be so firm in their faith that they CAN have a discussion with their atheist grandpa about it. How can that be bad? Anything Athiest Grandpa has to say should either be able to be answered by them, or else if they don't know the answer, it should spur them on to discover it. It wouldn't worry me at all. They *should* be able to answer for what they believe. How else do the know what it is that they believe?

 

I enjoy spiritual/religious/philosophic discussion, I've raised my children to welcome them.

 

But, no, I would not allow a relative to deliberately undermine something as foundational as world view with my minor children. It's an inappropriate role and intention.

 

I probably have more in common, theologically, with the grandpa. It's the engagement and motive that concern me.

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I'm curious if this grandpa were Christian and said he couldn't wait to have talks with his atheist grand kids to try and undermine their non-believe, if that would be viewed as awful and divisive. Me thinks not, but that's because atheism is bad and Christianity is good so therefore he'd be doing a good thing.

Well, I know I would certainly view it as awful and divisive. I don't think it's Grandpa's place (or anyone else's, for that matter) to try to undermine a family's established belief system.

 

Why would it be any different if Grandpa was a religious fanatic and the family was atheist? I don't think that is the issue here at all. I'm viewing it as Grandpa trying to force his beliefs where they aren't welcome. :confused:

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I enjoy spiritual/religious/philosophic discussion, I've raised my children to welcome them.

 

But, no, I would not allow a relative to deliberately undermine something as foundational as world view with my minor children. It's an inappropriate role and intention.

 

I probably have more in common, theologically, with the grandpa. It's the engagement and motive that concern me.

 

I agree with you, Joanne, on not approving of Grandpa's motive. I was however just pointing out that it does not have to be a 'bad' thing. Look at what Jesus tells his followers in Matthew 5:11-12:

 

"Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

 

I don't think it's a bad thing to have someone question the faith of our children. I think it's a good thing. And I think what Athiest Grandpa may mean for evil, the Lord can work for good. I guess i don't see how him questioning the children about any aspect of their faith is in some way undermining it. If that's the case, that the faith they hold can be undermined by questioning, then I don't want them holding that faith.The truth of the Gospel can stand up to any questioning by Grandpa, and if the children don't know all the truth they need to answer Grandpa, then what better way to find out where their education in the Word is weak, you know?  I want them to hold TRUE faith, to KNOW whom and what it is they believe and why.

 

Question away, I say. All it can do is make them stronger That's my view, anyway.

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I agree with you, Joanne, on not approving of Grandpa's motive. I was however just pointing out that it does not have to be a 'bad' thing. Look at what Jesus tells his followers in Matthew 5:11-12:

 

"Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

 

I don't think it's a bad thing to have someone question the faith of our children. I think it's a good thing. And I think what Athiest Grandpa may mean for evil, the Lord can work for good. I guess i don't see how him questioning the children about any aspect of their faith is in some what undermining it. If that's the case, that the faith they hold can be undermined by questioning, then I don't want them holding that faith. I want them to hold TRUE faith, to KNOW whom and what it is they believe and why.

 

Question away, I say. All it can do is make them stronger That's my view, anyway.

 

 

From a protective, self care, wise standpoint, I am not going to subject my family to an engagement that is designed to undermine (and confront) my family values.

 

It's not a matter of strength, knowledge, or "faith". It's a matter of being smart with my relationship rules.

 

Does that make sense?

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Well, I know I would certainly view it as awful and divisive. I don't think it's Grandpa's place (or anyone else's, for that matter) to try to undermine a family's established belief system.

 

Why would it be any different if Grandpa was a religious fanatic and the family was atheist? I don't think that is the issue here at all. I'm viewing it as Grandpa trying to force his beliefs where they aren't welcome. :confused:

Ah, but there are many who don't share your view, Cat. Many. For them there is a big difference between atheist grandpa and Christian grandpa. Huge difference.

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From a protective, self care, wise standpoint, I am not going to subject my family to an engagement that is designed to undermine (and confront) my family values.

 

It's not a matter of strength, knowledge, or "faith". It's a matter of being smart with my relationship rules.

 

Does that make sense?

 

Sure, it makes sense. I just don't agree. :D

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Ah, but there are many who don't share your view, Cat. Many. For them there is a big difference between atheist grandpa and Christian grandpa. Huge difference.

Sadly, I have to agree with you. :(

 

I have to say, though, that I think there are a lot of people who think it has to be their way or the highway whether their beliefs are Christian, atheist, or pretty much anything else, and it can really suck the fun right out of a discussion when they get started on their tirades.

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I just reread, and understood from your OP that it was their OWN birthday they ruined, when you were treating them to a dinner out-- how rude of them to turn it into an occasion to berate and undermine you, no matter what the subject... this person sounds very unpleasant --and ungrateful. I wonder if there is some way, if you wish, to spend time with them in a way that shows care (if this is a relative that you are bound to be in contact with) yet minimizes actual conversation! Like... taking them to a movie instead of dinner. Then you don't have as much time to talk!

Though on second thought perhaps this person disapproves of movies-- too worldly, I suppose.

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You must be my long-lost sister. :p  My mom, during our visit earlier this year, was sure to tell me that Doctor Who is satanic and under no circumstances should I ever watch it again, period.  Stargate (her favorite show) is fine, though.  So, traveling through time in a blue box = Satan, while sentient parasites that possess people = perfectly okay.  Got it.

 

while sentient parasites that possess people while pretending to be gods and demanding they be worshipped.   (or you will be killed.)

sheesh.  get it right.  :001_tt2:

 

eta: I want a sonic screwdriver . . . . .

 

I'm curious if this grandpa were Christian and said he couldn't wait to have talks with his atheist grand kids to try and undermine their non-believe, if that would be viewed as awful and divisive. Me thinks not, but that's because atheism is bad and Christianity is good so therefore he'd be doing a good thing.

 

I think that is a bad thing and a sign of their profound disrespect for anyone who doesn't agree with them - and those I know like that are that way about almost everything.   I know those types on both sides of the religious aisle - and I find both sides offensive. 

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Sadly my a little extremely religious family members are also a lot extremely batsh!t and sociopathic. This is not religious discrimination people- the rest of my family is also religious but not of the eeyore self flagulation persecution variety. My beloved mother was one of the most religious people I know but she didn't do stuff like this. Ever. At all. These types in my family are truly just beyond all sense of decency and decorum and safety. Happily this means I get to ignore their exsistence entirely!

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I enjoy spiritual/religious/philosophic discussion, I've raised my children to welcome them.

 

But, no, I would not allow a relative to deliberately undermine something as foundational as world view with my minor children. It's an inappropriate role and intention.

 

I probably have more in common, theologically, with the grandpa. It's the engagement and motive that concern me.

 

Spot on.  It is his intention that I find upsetting.  I have no problem with my children defending their faith.   I think that they should be able to do so.

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