Author Topic: "That's really not true" (religion)  (Read 6430 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

JeseC

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 339
Re: "That's really not true" (religion)
« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2013, 11:18:14 AM »
Usually my mother just brings up how wonderful her religion is (which she knows I strongly, strongly disagree with) and how much she wishes I would just come back to her faith (I went through a while of being non-religious).  This is frequently accompanied with "how can you not believe A, I don't understand?"  It's sort of an awkward situation, because I don't want to explain yet again but I don't want to cause the drama of not explaining - "how dare you refuse to answer my questions," basically.  And believe me there will be drama.  It's something my mother tends to be good at.  I've gotten very good at hiding eye-rolls.

That said...I do sometimes bring religion X into it.  I do this because I'm going to have to tell her about my conversion at some point, because of obligations once you've fully joined (hence my previous thread about religious etiquette as a guest).  Here's the best way I can explain it:  Suppose many people believe that religion X has kicking puppies as a tenet.  This is not something religion X teaches.  However, if you're joining that religion, a lot of people's first thought is "But you believe in kicking puppies now!  How could you?" and they get legitimately upset and hurt.  I'd like to avoid that reaction, because it's simply not based on truth, by having that issue sorted out before it comes up.

ilrag

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 748
Re: "That's really not true" (religion)
« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2013, 11:27:15 AM »
Is "kicking puppies" (aka what your mom thinks your religion believes) something that a large number of people believe?

If so there has to be people in  your church/temple/group/sect who have had this conversation before and might be able to help you out more then we can with the information you're willing to share.

Zilla

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6506
    • Cooking
Re: "That's really not true" (religion)
« Reply #17 on: January 29, 2013, 11:27:28 AM »
It's like politics, just don't discuss it.  If she brings it up, change the subject.  You have nothing to prove to her and it's very easy to find other things to discuss.
 
Or if you really feel that you have to talk to her about it, tell her that maybe in the past they did believe that or that particular pastor/priest/whatever may have but not YOURS.  And if she insists, then bean dip and accept defeat.  It if splits the family apart, that's all on your mom's immaturity in doing so.  I would wash my hands of it and move on.

Lynn2000

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5560
Re: "That's really not true" (religion)
« Reply #18 on: January 29, 2013, 11:33:02 AM »
OP, I see your point, but I think you're trying to treat your mother as a rational, thoughtful person on this point, and it sounds like she just isn't. I don't think there's going to be a magic phrase or action you can use that will suddenly make her understand you.

If you explain things to her, it will cause drama; if you try to change the subject, it will cause drama; if you keep your mouth shut when she questions you, it will cause drama; if you say nothing until you drop the bombshell of your conversion on her, it will cause drama. You see where I'm going with this? So you might as well decide for yourself which action will cause the least amount of drama for you, or the kind of drama you can best handle.

Personally I would go with, "I'm not discussing this with you, because every time we do, you refuse to listen to me" at the first mention in a conversation, then repeat, "I'm not discussing this with you" for the rest of the day. If she ever changes her script and seems genuinely more open to hearing your thoughts, you can proceed with more information.

With other people, who are more rational on this subject (even if they currently believe a misconception), you might be able to be more open from the start.
~Lynn2000

TurtleDove

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6284
Re: "That's really not true" (religion)
« Reply #19 on: January 29, 2013, 11:34:25 AM »
That said...I do sometimes bring religion X into it.  I do this because I'm going to have to tell her about my conversion at some point, because of obligations once you've fully joined (hence my previous thread about religious etiquette as a guest). 

I am guessing this may lead to a cut between you and your mother.  If you cannot keep religion out of your relationship, I would imagine nothing will change in her behavior of being vocally uphappy with your decisions.

JeseC

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 339
Re: "That's really not true" (religion)
« Reply #20 on: January 29, 2013, 11:42:40 AM »
Is "kicking puppies" (aka what your mom thinks your religion believes) something that a large number of people believe?

If so there has to be people in  your church/temple/group/sect who have had this conversation before and might be able to help you out more then we can with the information you're willing to share.

It's something that people commonly believe about religion X.  It doesn't help that religion X has a larger number of casual members than many others.  This means there are a lot more people who are religion X but are only involved in it a couple of times a year, and often have very different ideas of it than the official teaching.

OP, I see your point, but I think you're trying to treat your mother as a rational, thoughtful person on this point, and it sounds like she just isn't. I don't think there's going to be a magic phrase or action you can use that will suddenly make her understand you.

If you explain things to her, it will cause drama; if you try to change the subject, it will cause drama; if you keep your mouth shut when she questions you, it will cause drama; if you say nothing until you drop the bombshell of your conversion on her, it will cause drama. You see where I'm going with this? So you might as well decide for yourself which action will cause the least amount of drama for you, or the kind of drama you can best handle.

Personally I would go with, "I'm not discussing this with you, because every time we do, you refuse to listen to me" at the first mention in a conversation, then repeat, "I'm not discussing this with you" for the rest of the day. If she ever changes her script and seems genuinely more open to hearing your thoughts, you can proceed with more information.

With other people, who are more rational on this subject (even if they currently believe a misconception), you might be able to be more open from the start.

Yeah probably true.  My mother is just one of those people that tends to cause drama with me.  Whoever said it upthread was right - she does not regard me as an independent adult.  She still considers it her duty to get me on the right path in life, and unfortunately she manages to find evidence that I need her care in a lot of things.

CakeBeret

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4264
Re: "That's really not true" (religion)
« Reply #21 on: January 29, 2013, 11:54:12 AM »
My family can be pretty bigoted and I'm quite liberal, so there's a ton of room for us to clash. I just refuse to engage. There was a whole hullabaloo when I refused to discuss my political beliefs around the time of the presidential election. Your mom can't force you to engage her in a discussion. If beandipping is too stressful, just ignore her.

Mom: I can't believe you don't believe in X. Why don't you believe in X?
You: I'm not going to discuss that with you.
Mom: But you're going to be a mean horrible puppy kicker! How could you do that?
You: I've told you before that that's not true, but you refuse to believe me. Bean dip?
Mom: Don't contradict me!
You: I'm not discussing this anymore.

And then hang up the phone, leave the room, say goodbye. You don't owe her a religious debate!

My parents have no idea where my religious beliefs lie because I refuse to discuss them--and I'm happier that way. Remember, you hold the power here. You don't have to discuss it if you don't want to, and you certainly don't have to justify yourself.
"From a procrastination standpoint, today has been wildly successful."

Oh Joy

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1387
Re: "That's really not true" (religion)
« Reply #22 on: January 29, 2013, 11:58:15 AM »
1) Smile. 
2) "Mom, I love you too much to discuss religion with you." 
3) Serve beandip.

Piratelvr1121

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 11399
Re: "That's really not true" (religion)
« Reply #23 on: January 29, 2013, 12:31:32 PM »
Sounds like it is just a good idea to avoid the topic of religion with your mother, from the sound of it, even if she brings it up. 

If she really pushes the kicked puppy act, perhaps you could look at her like she just grew two heads and say something to the effect of "Wow, you really think I'd be okay with that? I thought you knew me better than that."

I used to belong to a denomination that was rather controversial but being a more liberal believer, I ended up having to say "well some do believe that but I don't agree."  Eventually I just stopped bringing up religion in general with people I knew to be of the same religion but different denominations cause I just had too many instances of being told "You're doing it wrong because you're X!!"  ::)

I think another pp had a good suggestion to ask the other people of your religion what they suggest you say. (without sounding like you're proselytizing, that is)
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

artk2002

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 13076
    • The Delian's Commonwealth
Re: "That's really not true" (religion)
« Reply #24 on: January 29, 2013, 12:52:38 PM »
The first question you have to ask yourself is this: Why is it important that my mother agree that she's wrong? This is an especially important question when you're dealing with a subject like religion, which is fraught with misunderstandings and prejudices. A subject that comes down to, in the end, what one person believes. Unless she starts accusing you of kicking puppies, I'd let it go. Trying to change someone's preconceptions is very, very hard in the best of circumstances. You've got to overcome the other person's natural desire to not be shown wrong (which seems very strong in your mother's case), before you can even get to the point of discussing facts. With religion, you have then to get past the inherent tribalism ("My people are virtuous, those other people kick puppies.")  The question is really leading to the adage of "Pick your battles. Is this a hill you want to die on?"*

Let's look at the consequences of taking on this battle. Win or lose, there are going to be hard feelings on both sides -- the topic can be too emotional for it to be any other way. If you win, I guarantee that your mother will be resentful, not happy that you pointed out her misconception. If you lose, what is different, other than the hard feelings? Nothing, really.

My advice: Say once, "it looks like we don't see eye-to-eye on this one. We'll have to agree to disagree." Then bean-dip every time the subject comes up. And cross "religion" off of your list of topics that are safe with your mother.

* Letting go of your own need to be right all the time is very freeing. Not caring whether you or the other person has the "last word" really shortens unproductive discussions. Leaving others to have their own misconceptions that don't hurt you (or others) takes a big burden off of you. Don't get me wrong, I love being right; it's very important to me. But I realized a while back that as long as I know that I'm right, then I'm happy. I don't have to have others know it, too. It's nice, but not necessary for my own happiness.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

Mikayla

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4076
Re: "That's really not true" (religion)
« Reply #25 on: January 29, 2013, 12:56:05 PM »
It's sort of an awkward situation, because I don't want to explain yet again but I don't want to cause the drama of not explaining - "how dare you refuse to answer my questions," basically.  And believe me there will be drama. 

OP, on the bolded, refusing to engage is not causing drama.  And it's also not "refusing to answer" your mom's questions, because she's not asking questions.  She's out to prove something to you, and anything less than a full capitulation on your part is her sign from above to keep on truckin'.

If you honestly want this to end, you have the power to do it.  Lots of people refuse to discuss politics and religion.

spookycatlady

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 429
Re: "That's really not true" (religion)
« Reply #26 on: January 29, 2013, 01:03:22 PM »

If you're getting drama no matter which way you turn- well, you are going to have to choose which drama you want to have.  It's like getting to pick the size of the boot that your going to get kicked with: the kicking is inevitable, but at least you can gain some control over how you're going to feel.

I completely agree with Art. 

jemma

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 263
Re: "That's really not true" (religion)
« Reply #27 on: January 29, 2013, 01:12:58 PM »
If religion x is the world's largest religion, boy can I empathize!  Except my Dad and his parents used to be religion  x and have no idea what its tenets are.  I think if she wants to discuss religion, it is perfectly polite to have a no holds bar discussion of the issue, including your duty to contradict her if she is wrong about your beliefs.  Just make sure you don't attack her, only her ideas.  Other polite options are bean dipping increasingly obviously (I don't want to discuss this.  Have you tried the bean dip?) and leaving if it gets too intense for you so she knows she can't bully you.  Unfortunately, you probably can't ever make her happy with your views, so you have accept some level of disagreement from her.

CluelessBride

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1647
Re: "That's really not true" (religion)
« Reply #28 on: January 29, 2013, 01:20:05 PM »
It sounds like your mom isn't rationale and so it likely won't matter what you say.

However, it may be worth changing your approach from "Religion X doesn't believe in kicking puppies" to "Most people who practice Religion X don't believe in kicking puppies". Because it appears her friend who practiced Religion X believed it, or knew those who did.

Since its such a common misconception, it may be easier to first get her to accept that not all practitioners believe in kicking puppies. You can then move on to "fundamentally, the Religion X doesn't believe in kicking puppies, although there are (possibly) some people within Religion X that do". It's usually easier to slowly change a long-held belief than to change it instantly.




gellchom

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2335
Re: "That's really not true" (religion)
« Reply #29 on: January 29, 2013, 01:24:00 PM »
While I was writing, artk posted that very wise post.  Artk, I want you to be my guru.

OP, I think that your best approach depends upon your most important objective.  There are lots of possibilities, all valid (or at least arguably valid, but that's not the point), and an approach that serves one can disserve another.  And most are pretty big, too big to tackle at the same time anyway. 

What's your primary objective here?

1) Avoid conflict
2) Resolve conflict
3) Explain your religious beliefs to your mother so she will understand
4) Defend your religious beliefs to your mother
5) Establish yourself as an autonomous adult
6) Win a power struggle
7) Get out of this endless loop

Can you see how some of these can conflict?  It doesn't mean you can't work on all of them.  Just maybe not at the same time.  And the best approach for one just cannot be the best approach for all.

If you can let go of needing to win the point with her -- and I don't mean that all judgmental like I know it sounds; that is not easy, and it's a very legitimate feeling both for an adult child trying to get recognition as autonomous and for an adherent of a misunderstood and/or maligned religion -- then I think your path is smoother. 

Besides, as someone else wisely pointed out upthread, at some point you are going to have to tell her that you have adopted this religion.  Frankly, it's kind of not fair that you are letting her go on like this when you know that conversation is coming, but she doesn't.  I'm not saying you have to have that conversation right now, but to be discussing Religion X without her knowing that is a bit less than an honest conversation.  More important, you don't want to poison the whole subject before that important day.

Do resist contradicting her -- no, not because she was right to yell at you not to contradict her (of course she wasn't), but because there is no point.  To her, it will just sound like it's about you calling her friend (or her) a liar or an idiot or both.  If she brings up the puppy kicking, try to get out of it fast and non-confrontationally -- maybe something like, "Well, maybe she did back then, but I've looked into it, and it's not happening now" and/or "Mom, you know I'd never hang around puppy-kicking!  You raised me better than that.  Bean dip?"  I mean, look at the puppy-kicking from her point of view: I believe you that Religion X does not kick puppies.  But she doesn't; she thinks they do/did.  She loves you and doesn't want you to get mixed up with puppy-kicking (and especially if what "puppy kicking" stands for is not just something distasteful, but something that is potentially dangerous to you.)  You're an adult, but she still loves and cares for you and wants to try to protect you.  For example, I know that many Christian parents are terribly upset when their children convert away, because they truly believe their children's immortal souls are going to spend eternity in hell.  I don't believe that, but I don't blame them for feeling upset and for wanting to dissuade their children -- what kind of parents would they be if that didn't matter to them?  It sounds like "puppy kicking" stands for something very different from that, but I imagine a similar emotional response is what's going on here.  And if it WERE true about the "puppy kicking," she WOULD be doing the right thing by trying to alert you.  (And not just because she's your parent -- the same would be true if you were the one trying to alert her to something.)  So do consider her motives.

If you want to avoid conflict, POLITELY refuse to talk about it.  I think that even "I'm not discussing this with you, because every time we do, you refuse to listen to me" is a little bit unnecessarily confrontational, because it talks about and criticizes HER behavior.  Yes, accurately!  And not meanly.  But that's not the point.  When we do that, the other person stops listening, because they feel criticized and defensive.  Rather, try to talk in terms of your OWN feelings, not her behavior that is causing them -- what some therapists call "I" messages.  (Like, in another context, a spouse will do better with "I would like more help with the dishes" than "You never help with the dishes.")  Talk about how you feel and what you need and want, not about what they are doing wrong. 

So in your case, you might tweak that just a bit to something like, "Mom, we've gone around and around on this so many times, and I feel really frustrated because we never get anywhere.  I know you're just worried because you care about me, and I want you to know I hear and understand your concerns.  I would really appreciate it if we could just avoid this subject for a while."

Whatever approach you choose, engagement or avoidance, don't be rude.  Be gentle.  The fact that you are 100% right doesn't make it okay to be rude to your mom, even if she is overstepping.  You may reach a point when that's not possible, but so far it doesn't sound like it.  Resist the temptation to tell yourself that it's okay to be rude and aggressive just because she started it.  The payoff is that being polite and respectful will serve your other objectives -- being seen as an autonomous adult and as a credible source of valid information about Religion X -- much better than appearing, in her eyes, like a fractious teenager.

Good luck.  I'm sure that this is really hard.  No matter how carefully you do it, it's a big challenge -- so give yourself a good start.