Saturday, November 24, 2012

The enormity of conformity

Spending Thanksgiving with my Father reminded me how strong the social pressure is/was from my parents (and the culture at large) to be a Christian.

My Dad is a great guy. Does so much for so many people. But he embraced the religion of his parents as a youth and never looked back. He has never doubted, and cheers on the Christian team whenever he can. It's his whole world and subculture and language. It's all he reads and listens to and watches. (Well, he also watches Fox News.) It's all his friends and acquaintances.

I feel awkward now when I'm with him. It was just the two of us for Thanksgiving and each of the three days I was there we had "devotions" at breakfast. One day he asked me to do the praying, if I would. OMG. I wanted to remain true to myself, but I didn't want to offend him either. I had to make a split-second decision... Since I consider myself an agnostic at the moment (maybe there is some type of God) I launched in as nonchalantly as I could. However, I addressed the deity with the generic "God," as opposed to Dear Lord, or something more personal or specific. And when I closed I said Amen, instead of the obligatory "In-Jesus'-name-amen." Phew. I got through it. Was that good enough to satisfy him?

But then I got thinking of the book I'm writing which is intended to be a book of wisdom to pass on to high school graduates. It is not going to be a "Christian" book, so I'm sure that will be a BIG disappointment to him. He will see it as having no value if I don't include God and Bible verses liberally throughout. And the chapters on Religion and Sex will have elements that will knock the wind out of him. geez. I don't want to deal with the aftermath.

Can't I just be an agnostic and have everybody ok with that?? Thankfully, my Mom has passed, cuz she was even more fundamentalist than my Dad. And my two sisters seem to be adapting to the new me ok.

But my Dad... I started thinking, "I won't be free until he dies." How horrible is that?

This is not going to be easy or smooth.


  1. I think this almost every single day. It does feel awful - but what you've said is Exactly how I feel. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. It's good to know I'm not the only one! :)

  3. :) Interestingly enough, I was in a writing class for about 6 weeks that ended right before Thanksgiving and this topic came up. The instructor said it is more common than you might think to feel this way but she told me, "don't put it on the Internet, people will eat you alive for saying it!"

  4. That's why I have this anonymous blog. It's been a great tool to get stuff out of my head without worrying about what people will think. I've had nothing but positive responses from fellow doubters, although there was one pesky woman who tried to witness to me and other doubters.

    You can write me at evangelicallyincorrect @ if you want to tell me more of your story.