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January 5, 2012 9:06 PM Subscribe
Conversations with my Father-in-law have lead him to lose his faith in God. My mother-in-law is not coping well with this and blames me. What do I do?
posted by holdkris99 to human relations (26 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
My father-in-law and I have been having conversations about God, faith, science, evolution etc for about three years now. Basically it started out as him trying to "save my soul" but have had the opposite effect. He now no longer believes and, as a 60 year old man who always considered himself a strong Christian, this has really shaken him to the core. It was never my intention to convince him he was wrong, but we had an agreement that whenever we have these kind of philosophical talks that we would both be honest in our feelings and beliefs, so when he asked me a question, I answered it honestly.
You can no doubt imagine the avenues these conversations went down: the inerrancy of the Bible, evolution vs creationism, the role of Christianity in society, etc. Basically we would have talks about these different subjects and he would ask my opinions and I would give my opinions and point him to reading materials that I based my opinions on. He would comeback with findings that he would get from Young Earth Creationist sites and I would counter and so on.
After a while he became bothered by things that he thought were ironclad, undisputable facts and really began to question himself and his God and recently he decided that what he previously believed could not be true. He has been severely depressed and began feeling that he has wasted good chunks of his life with religion. The thing is, he was a great Christian who let his actions speak louder than words. He is a good man and I admire and love him dearly. In the last week or so he has been coming around to the fact that his Christian upbringing and morals have served him well and has said that coming to this realization will make his last years more enjoyable and more fulfilling.
My mother-in-law is a different story. She completely blames me for his recent depression and for his changing outlook. Again, she is a great Christian woman and we have never had any real issues. She never minded the long talks my father-in-law had because she thought they would lead myself and my wife "back into the fold." She no longer allows my wife and I over to the house and does not want her husband talking to me anymore. My wife and I have talked and have kind of taken the position that we will just not attempt much contact and wait for them to contact us, but that of course it is hard because we both love and care for them and enjoy being with them. It made for a very awkward Christmas! I guess my question is what is my responsibility here? Is there anything I could or should try to do to help diffuse the situation other than let time work its magic?
I will be happy to answer any questions.