Sunday, July 6, 2008

Letter To My Mother

Dear Mom,
First, I want you to know how much I love you and Dad. In fact, my love for you has grown tremendously over the years. I'm in my forties now, but because I've always lived so far away since becoming an adult, I miss you more then ever.

I admire you, Mom. You have taught me more then you will ever know. You brought me up in a strong Christian home, even though this faith was rejected by much of the extended family. Your belief in Christianity and its principles surely gave us a foundation that others only wished they had. Your intense belief in the Bible motivated you to do decades of research into it, even to the point of publishing a book on your findings and beliefs. All of this while battling personal obstacles that might have crushed anyone else. You, Mom, are an amazing woman.

I must tell you, Mom, that one of the most powerful things you taught me, whether it was intentional or not, was to think on my own - to question things and come to my own conclusions. This, I feel, was your greatest lesson for me.

It probably won't come as a tremendous shock to you, but may disappoint you - I no longer consider myself a Christian. I too have done a lot of research, and believe that all of the revealed religions, such as Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and the like, are no more then man made belief systems made up of fantasies, superstitions, folk lore, myths and fables. I also believe that these religions were created, at best, as guides for human existence, but more probably to control or favor different groups of people. I believe these faiths have been both a tremendous blessing, and terrible curse to humanity.

I want to point out that I absolutely, positively, unequivocally believe in God, the single supreme creator of the Universe. I believe this through the observance of Nature and the divine gift of Reason. I want to tell you, Mom, that I'm a Deist.

Please know that just because I've given up the dogma of Christianity, it in no way means that I relinquish its values. In fact, as a Deist I hold myself to an even higher standard. Through the God given gift of Reason I now understand that it benefits all of us to live a good life, to obey the laws of humanity (such as the Golden Rule; be honest and don't lie, cheat or steal; freedom, dignity and equality for everyone; etc.) and to give back and support others in these endeavors.

Mom, I'm trying to think of what you may be thinking. That I'm a heretic? Well, as a Christian I was heretical to many other faiths. Maybe that I'll miss the rapture, won't go to heaven, or will go to hell? If these concepts were real, I'd be concerned too - but they are a man made fabrication. Maybe that I'll now lead a sinful life or that the whole world will fall into chaos and anarchy if they were to convert to Deism? No way! The whole idea of Deism is to believe in God based on Nature and Reason, and to live a good life based on the laws of humanity. If everyone believed these principles, the world would certainly be a better place.

I give thanks to God every day, Mom - for you and Dad and our family; for my wife, child and grandchildren; for the challenges and the blessings that befall me; and especially for this life that I live, as humble as it may be. God did good in creating our Universe, and I'm happy to be a tiny little part of it.

I love you Mom.
Your son,
One Deist Φ


Joel said...

How did things go with this letter? I just recently declared myself a Deist to my parents, and while they haven't tried to burn me at the stake, the reaction was not what I would exactly call pleasant or understanding. I hope this went well for you.

One Deist said...

Thanks for the good wishes, Joel.

As you might imagine, this will be quite a delicate discussion with my folks once the opportunity presents itself. My Dad is a little more flexible and open minded with these matters, but Mom is set in her ways. Oddly, I think if I were to say I converted to Islam or Buddhism or almost anything else, it would be much better received.

A big part of this post was simply to unload. As noted, I live a long way from them and will wait to tell them in person.

I'm curious how much Deism you were able to share with your parents and what kind of feedback they gave you. I'm very curious about this from other Deists too.

One Deist Φ

Joel said...

Hehehe, honestly, I wasn't able to get much out about Deism with my parents. My dad is a Methodist minister. I got a few questions like, "What do you mean you don't believe God is directly involved in the universe??" and "What do you mean you don't believe the Bible is inspired??" Then I was preached to for a bit. Aside from an occasional jab at me, it hasn't come up again.

My brother, on the other hand, tried a different approach. He's working on his PhD in microbiology and has to defend his research, so he did try to reason the validity of Christian fideism, as ironic as it sounds. We had good email exchanges where I was able to show that a Deist does not need to prove God's existence with reason, all he has to do is show that it is a reasonable position based on the structure of the universe. The Christian, though, with the higher claims of supernatural truth, requires a higher level of proof, and the validity of any faith requires reason as it's test. I think he at least respects my position, but I don't imagine he will become a card-carrying Deist soon. ;)

But once the dialogue stops and the lines are drawn in the sand, things don't go well from there. I hope for better than that for you, friend.

One Deist said...

Although my Mom is not a minister, I'm sure her knowledge and passion more then qualify her as such. I must admit that she is open to dialog about these matters, but not flexible at all on which is the right path. I'm certain to get an earful too.

I have a very strong feeling that those close to us will one day completely understand why we believe as we do. Maybe even to the point of becoming Deists themselves. Deism simply makes too much sense to ignore.

Part of the problem is that people are not accustomed to believing in things that are logical and reasonable; and if they do, credit must be given to that which is not.

You've planted the seed, my friend. Although uncomfortable, this is a good thing indeed and in deed.

One Deist Φ