Stuck between Rev and a hard place
July 7, 2008 6:00 PM Subscribe
Again, my childhood reverend is trying to convince me to be religious. How do I deal with him?
posted by anonymous to human relations (34 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Religion is a very tender subject in my family since my temporary estrangement from them regarding my non-belief in God. Only after coming out as a non-religious adult, a few painful years of not talking and then a gradual return to normalcy have we gotten along, and during all that time, I refused to let religion become a topic of conversation because I know how much it hurts them that I'm not Christian. As a sign of deference and respect toward my parents, I attend church with them when I am home, but I do not take communion or otherwise participate in the service.
Ever since they found out about my nonbelief, I get an impassioned phone call every year or so from my toolbox of a childhood reverend encouraging me to come back to God, reminding me that if I were to die in a car accident, "there are only two outcomes". This time around, I told him that I won't, in fact, go to hell, because hell does not exist and a back and forth about my lack of faith ensued, in which I finally told him in so many words that I don't believe in God, most likely won't believe in God in the future, and because of this, am not comfortable returning to church. I know I shouldn't have engaged him, but I can't stand his repeated verbal assault and blatant disrespect of my privacy and life choices and it feels like honesty is the only way to get him to listen and stop. I am grown, married, and live away from home, and he still won't lay off. Every time, he will tattle to my parents about the nature of our conversations; this time, I'm very afraid that it will result in another estrangement period. It's killing me--I can't lie, but I can't bend over and take it every time he feels the need to remind me of my supposed fiery future.
What do I say to this guy? What do I say to my parents? In case it's relevant, I was raised in a very conservative Lutheran church.