After over a decade of mostly ignoring, shutting down, or being more than a little combative in the conversation(s) about god from my very fanatical baptist father, I recently decided to actually start a back and forth email discussion with him. This way we can each take our time to read the others' position, concerns, questions and respond in kind, asking clarifying questions, etc.. without having to deal with interruptions, time restraints, saying things we don't mean, and generally allowing us to take our time, research or look into suggestions or challenges we might pose, and offer a measured, calm response.
I am not expecting to change my father's mind or deconvert him. I don't think there are many things that could. I've told him as much, and made it clear to him that the chances of him "bringing me back to god" are even slimmer. The intent is simply to understand his position as clearly as possible, and for him to understand me. In addition to that I figure it would be beneficial to both of us to ask any questions we may have about each others' position, beliefs, etc.
Admittedly, it has gone fairly predictably so far. But I attribute that more to my initial approach of going almost straight for the questions I have about the bible. So I've sort of hit reset on the conversation and sent a longish (all my emails tend to be lengthy) detailed explanation of when and how I came to where I am. Without getting into science or reason. So now I'm just awaiting his response.
What do you think? Have you had conversations like this with your parents? Do you think it hurt or helped your relationship or mutual understanding with/of them?