Sunday, April 1, 2007

a discussion with my parents

This is something I feel I should write. I walked into the kitchen of my parents house and felt scared that my mom, dad and I are gonna end up in hell. I wasn’t sure why I felt this way. I mean that on one hand I’m not sure why I felt they would end up in hell. I’m not sure why I'm debating that a place called hell exists or why people should have to wonder if they will end up there. I’m also not sure why I was scared if that might be the case. Both scared that I might go there, and worried that my parents might.

My dad I think is an atheist, or at least his position is that no one has any reason to assume any belief without proof is valid. My mother says she doesn’t doubt that Jesus may have felt he died for our sins, and she thinks he was like any great prophet who wanted to help us live consciously and lovingly. I asked her if she felt like she knew that Jesus was really her savior or if she felt she might be denying god. She said she had no way of knowing those things without taking a leap of faith and she said she couldn’t discount other religions because she thought there wasn’t only one right way. I asked her why and she said because there are other religions and we can’t discredit the rest of the world because of the politically imposed of the Christian religion. I asked her if she ever tried to test Jesus to see if he was real. She said she might have when she was younger and surrounded by the religion, but not anymore. She wont try now (As I write) she wasn’t taught to test Jesus when she was younger. (50s and early 60s small town Wisconsin) she said either you have faith or you don’t. I Said there has to be a reason people believe something. She said every culture has faith in something, and people have had faiths before Jesus. She said people with blind faith end up trying to discredit evolution and other things and that what I am doing with her is pointless.

I said I was asking her to be honest with her feelings and she said she strives to be honest and that it doesn’t feel to be dishonest and that it isn’t helpful in relationships. So I asked her again if she ever asked Jesus if he was real and if he could come into her heart. The extent of her praying, she said, had to do with asking that if god knows what’s going on, please help me to direct my family in the best way possible so each of them can be decent people. She also asked god to please help her son find himself so he can be happy in life. I asked her whom she thought she was talking to when she prayed to god and she said I don’t know. She then said that prayer works as a sort meditation for some people and thinking about things quietly helps them figure things out.

She says she thinks I am stuck on worrying about one right way or else hell, and that I cant think past that. And that for many of her Christian friends, prayer helps them think more lucidly or rationally about their problems.

She asked me if she was making sense to me or if I was going to discredit it because it didn’t fit in with the way I was thinking about things at the moment (I’m terrified of hell we will try and see why later). I told her I sometimes felt that Jesus was real. In a spiritual way. I say that this means I have to see what I think about the bible, since you learn about Jesus through the bible.

I asked her to sometimes ask Jesus if he was calling her. But she said she wasn’t really looking for it and had a lot of things going on in her life. She says that doing tai chi and learning about Taoism is very appealing to her and also tolerant of other cultures. She thinks other spiritualities will answer more of her questions for her. I asked her to still try sometimes but she said she would never have done something like that. And that she would have to be more open to that thought process in order to do something like that.

Sometimes the minister of her father’s church says open your hearts, let him in during service. And she says that in this setting (she visits her father a few times a year) she feels to think about the things in life most important to her like her family. I asked her if she ever felt like Jesus was coming into her heart. She said that was too mysterious of a question for her. She said one can have a good feeling by thinking about problems in life and thinking clearly about them and making positive steps towards fixing problems and that is what she thinks about when she prays, and that some people attribute this feeling of clarity to god.

I asked her if she ever thought she was feeling gods love in her heart. She said maybe when little because then she was told to label the thought as god, but she has learned to think for herself and realize that these feelings might come from a combination of things. I asked her if she felt deep down that she knew that the feeling was from Jesus. She said no. I asked her if she was sure, she said yes. Asked her if she was positive, she said I was pushing it and that she was trying to be reasonable with me.

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