The manipulation of religion in action

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the godless side / the post-God side

Tonight we brought dinner over to our dear friends Gavin and Jane, the parents who just lost their baby girl, and my husband’s best friend growing up.  As I’ve mentioned, both Gavin and Jane are still in the community that Silver left — fundamentalist Mormonism.

Jane made a comment tonight, “I don’t know what I believe anymore,” a totally understandable sentence from a mother who lost her only daughter.  “I don’t like the feeling that I have to do more and behave a certain way in order to see her again.”  My heart skipped a beat.  Eff religion.

Gavin echoed those same feelings later in the evening: “I was shocked, just absolutely shocked at some of the things people told me.  Some of the nicest people can say some of the most insensitive things.”  He paused for a moment, then mimicked them: ‘Now, you better be good so you can see your daughter again.’ ”

Anger boiled in my blood and my face heated.   The nerve of someone to instill fear and guilt into a grieving parent!!  The nerve to believe something that promises families are forever, tantalizing humanity with hope, but then searing their hopes in fear by manipulating that belief to force behavior!!!

As much as Jane and Gavin have enough sense to see those comments as unnecessary, I know that part of them holds onto them as bearing some amount of truth.  One cannot believe what they believe but yet choose not to be manipulated, feel guilty, or afraid of what may come.  And for that, I remain angry — for their sakes.

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The Author

I'm a closet atheist christian missionary. Paradigm shifts happen frequently for those who allow themselves to think critically about currently held beliefs and openly about new ones. I’ve developed the skill, or perhaps addiction, for change but the community around me is slow to catch up -- and would damn me if they knew where I stood.

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