I just had a mind blowing conversation with my fundamental christian mother. We discussed the bible, evolution, the universe, and other light subjects.
She tearfully admitted that she does not believe the bible to be infallible. She said that it was obviously, "too full of man".
She politely asked me to stop because I was, "crumbling the last foundations of her faith".
I informed her that I wasn't attempting to do that, but that I was glad she was willing to talk about it with me.
I never thought this day would come.
She told me that she thought I was very intelligent and thoughtful and that she admired me.
Up until today, I was only described as wayward and sinful.
Oh, happy day!
This lets you know how deep the tentacles of indoctrination go. Deep down inside—probably just skin deep, many folks know their belief system is flawed. However, admitting this fact will be like committing social suicide for most. It’s a horrific predicament.
Don't be too happy about this. You have helped her see the light, granted, but you have also taken away her security, her sense that there is always Someone out there who will take care of her. You will need to help her build a new set of coping skills so she doesn't feel cast adrift. My suggestion would be to not push it, and to let her set the direction of any conversations you have on this topic. Her fellow church members could also work together to convince her that Satan is using you to lead her astray, so she's not out of the woods yet. Sorry to be a Debbie Downer, just my two cents' worth.
When I lost my faith, it wasn't one big waking up moment. It was a series of small earthquakes that really shook me, until I realized what I was left standing on was not a foundation stable enough to build a life on. Realizing that was huge, and I definitely went through a mourning process. Church had been such a big part of my life. Be patient with her, she's really feeling that loss and uncertainty right now.
That's awesome. I wish I could have a conversation like that with my sister. She recently decided being one of the faithful was not enough irrationality for her. She is now in training to become some kind of alternative medicine doctor person thingy. Apparently there is an actual training course for this. I always figured they just made stuff up as they went along.
She actually said to me that all disease is mental and can be cured with the right attitude. So of course I ask "Uh, so all the cancer patients in the world are only sick because they have a bad attitude and can cure themselves by thinking away their tumors?"
Still waiting on an answer to that one.
Faith is how ignorance copes with the unknown. It's all about education and understanding. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's a self limiting thing to rely on. It's an opiate that calms restless curiosity at the expense of continued growth. As C S Lewis said, " only the vulnerable move among mysteries ". And the letting go of beliefs in order to expand ones understanding is not an easy addiction to break. Being an atheist should be the natural condition and unremarkable. What makes it controversial is that faith has spoiled the purity of thought and created such an obsticle to what's obvious.
It sounds like a productive conversation. Something I like to make clear with devout people is that I'm not trying to change their mind about their own faith but rather to show that my perspective isn't unreasonable. It would seem you had something of a breakthrough with your mother in this regard.
It sounds as though she's begun the deconversion process. Hopefully, it won't take her 20 years to deconvert like it did me. I hope for all the best for you and your mom. Cherish her vulnerability and honesty. Those are precious gifts that some of us will never receive from our parents. Stay sweet and continue to listen to her with your heart.
My sister used to be about as Southern Baptist as someone could be; she thought that without a full immersion baptism, people were not saved. Imagine my surprise several years ago when she said that evolution had to have happened because there was too much evidence for it.
I am not sure if my mouth dropped, but I know my eyes bugged out.
Since then, she says that gays are born gay, The Bible is not infallible, got a divorce (well, he did commit serial adultery--the only defense for divorce), and that IF god exists (saying that she thinks/is sure "it" does), no one knows its nature. She agrees with me that the tenets of Christianity were instituted by men for men.
She remains a Christian, though, and if god exists, says she will have lost nothing. The thought of Jesus and salvation is comforting to her, but she also says that no one knows who will get into heaven.
She does not seek to convert and does not preach.
Fair enough for me.