A reader sent in this dilemma:
I was raised as a full-on, tongue-speaking, fundy Christian.
After getting married, having a couple of kids, and generally settling into life, I started to question my Christianity. Over a period of a few years, I became an atheist. My children were very young at the time.
My first husband and I divorced while I was still a Christian. After the divorce, he continued to take them to church on his weekends. After I became an atheist, I no longer went to church but I never came out as an atheist as my entire family were (are) tongue-speaking, Bible-believing, spirit-filled, fire-breathing Christians. It would completely devastate them to think I wouldn’t be sharing heavenly bliss with them. So for now, they just think I’m back-slidden. They don’t know I no longer believe at all.
My spirit-filled sister recently preached at her church. Before her sermon she got everyone to come out the front and renounce their sicknesses. She said god was a healing god and they shouldn’t be sick. She said they shouldn’t accept sickness as it’s not part of god’s plan. So she said a loud prayer and there was lots of shouting and crying out to god during the whole experience.
I know this because she gave me a copy of her preaching CD.
Two weeks after her preaching, she was sick! My current husband and I were having a little chuckle over this fact.
My daughter suddenly turned to me and said, “Why don’t you just let people believe what they want to believe?”
I said they can believe whatever they’d like! But if someone says something silly in public, then I have the right to comment on it.
My daughter came back with the same statement and no matter what I couldn’t make her understand my point of view. She then started crying because she said I was attacking her religion.
Now, although I don’t believe, I have never told my kids what to believe. I’ve just told them to examine everything and not simply believe something just because someone else said it was true.
She’s told me she believes in god, but doesn’t believe in parts of the Bible… My daughter is still angry and feels like I attacked her. I can’t make her understand that I haven’t attacked her or even her religion, just something that someone from oher religion said.
How could I have handled this better?
Also, although I know this is probably wrong, I must admit that I am a little disappointed that she is just going along believing it all when I feel she should know better! She has the tools, she knows where the religion came from, and yet still she chooses to believe it.
Any suggestions or comments for the reader?
Is she being too harsh with her comments about religion? Should she refrain from making comments about religion at all in front of her daughter?