Generation Gaps: Advice for an Atheist Granny

Question from Niki:
A very strong atheist granny here.

My son was an atheist before he got caught in the religious net of this backwards, in the backyard of Europe, society and his overly religious wife, or he pretends he has become religious.
He and his wife have two children and the wife is in charge of everything religious. Disgustingly so. He just lets her do whatever she wants to do, for the sake of his peace, or else…

My question is, what will I say when one day one of my grand children asks me why I do not go to church?
I was thinking of ‘I DO NOT LIKE IT IN THERE, TOO DARK,’ or something to this effect. But this can work only until the kids are small.
Have you got any other, better idea, something that will not cause the little one to report to his mum what granny says, but still something which would satisfy me more as an answer near to my the essence. Something like
‘THERE IS NO GOD, THAT’S WHY!!!’

Answer by SmartLX:
You assume, correctly I think, a strong chance that your daughter-in-law will not want your grandchildren exposed to the simple idea that there are people who do not believe in God. She would be right to fear this. It means the difference between never even thinking to question the idea of God and eventually realising that no one has the answers for sure. (I think it’s ultimately responsible for my own deconversion.) They will be exposed in the end of course, but the question is how strongly indoctrinated they will be by then.

Taking your scenario at face value, you could say something like, “I don’t think it’s necessary to go to church.” This is true, but they are free to assume that you mean you don’t think God takes church attendance as seriously as their mother and the church think He does. One variation could be, “I think I’ve gone to church enough already.”

Consider, though, that if the kids register that you’re not going to church it will probably happen at church, or in the car going to or from church, and you won’t be there. In this case they’ll probably ask their parents about you first. So if I were you I would go talk to your son about what he will, and what his wife might, say about you. You’re doing your best to protect the family from a rift, and that’s best handled as a family.

Whatever happens (and do let us know in a comment), good luck.

12 thoughts on “Generation Gaps: Advice for an Atheist Granny”

  1. thank you, this helped. i like your idea of me telling that little one that it is not necessary that everybody, or, alternatively i, go to church. or, i find it boring in there, too dark, i am scared in there, i don’t like the songs they sing in there…and then i will remind him of Mozart who i already introduced him to and he recognizes his music and picture, to my delight, and to no objections of my daughter in law, or people are too serious for me in there, because i like to joke or it too silent in there, they do not allow me to talk aloud, which i don’t like, things like that.
    however i would not want to say to him that i have done enough going to church since it would be a lie, i am a life long atheist, i was born that, broutht up that and of course never changed my mind, cos my secondary grammar school in real socialism county took good care that religion never get mentioned in there while darwin evolution and scientific method were there all the time, in the speach of teacher and text books especially in science classes, physics, chemistry and biology.
    also, you took a weight off of me saying that this topic will probably have been discussed in the family, why i never go to church, and the mom will take care to say something, well, stupid. my son will again take the stance of a passive onlooker of what this woman does to me. your idea that i talk to him, it’s impossible because the whole society and the woman herself took good care to kinda convert mys son, which i believe(d) was impossible and i don’t believe him when he crosses himself in front of me when we passed a church in the car. anyway, i believe his reason for acting so stupidly is shear desperation for the other little son of theirs who has autism. so he is holding himself on a straw in order not to drown. of course he is probably agnostic now and soothes himself that it is the only logical solution to the ‘god’ problem, but he does not want to consult scientists and serious atheists, and knowledgeable too, as am even i myself around the origin of matter…you remember maybe my question to you about it, well i have kinda found an answer from a theoretical physicists who was taken aback when i had said in a thread that no one knows the origin of matter, so he took his time and in a little strong comment told me that theoretical physicists know the origin of it, that is, that it has no origin, that the universe IS matter and that it has always been there and always be, in its two as far as i know, matter and energy, forms, but seems there are more.
    so, i will not lower myself so much as to, for the wife’s sake say that i have gone to church enough because it is below me.
    anyway, i am collecting my courage to ask my son for a serious conversation and if i succeed to make him say yes, we would be alone and have time and his attention, i hope, then i will ask me to please tell me as his mother who brought him up as a humanist atheist, tell me his present stance on religion. i am only afraid that he will not tell me something very hurtful for both of us, that he is trying to believe in god, once he told me he was ‘looking’ for god, and later denied it, actually said he had never told me such a thing, so, i am afraid he will not tell me he is looking for god because of his autistic son whom he simply adore. neither do i want to hear this from him, nor tell him such a thing, thou, if either or both of us dared to pronounce such a horrible thing, that he is hoping against all odds that there is god and that it (god is of course and it if it exists) may help his little angel, because, if that were so, that god could help, why then in the beginning it lets so much suffering and misery on earth, and the answer to this that there is devil draws a logical conclusion why god allows devil to exist and do so evil things, and the answer to this atheists’ question is even more stupid, that nobody knows god’s ways, well i f…k its ways!
    so, all i can hope from my son is that he tells me his present state of mind around god and that i am on his side whatever his answer is, without touching the forbidden zone of why he came to such a humiliating state of mind to be looking for a stupidity as god notion is.
    before i forget, my son has expressed even since several years ago, as soon as he god his children, his negativity against mine, in his opinion, burning wish to tell the kids that there is no god (in my opinion, if i were free to speak, i would not say in my opinion, since the religious never use this phrase but talk about their stupid religion as an issue were a matter of fact) and that this is the reason i never go to church. he became sarcastic ever since he knotted his life with this woman, it is not the very religious society here that took his brains away from him, they could do nothing since he is not married to them but to his wife, and he has many times expressed his opinion that he will do anything not to anger her cos then he will see what happens to him from her. she is stronger than him cos she has the support of all the society while he has only me. i can live without this rotten society, my friends are on the internet, but he cannot. so, he gave up his character and intelligence and for that i hate her. he is entrapped. isn’t it sad…
    thank you for wishing me luck, i will need it a lot.
    and i will keep you informed if and there are news. good or bad. but i know deep down since i know how high an iq and education he has, that he does not believe in god. he only wants too, but as we all, well we with iq over 100, know belief is not an act of will nor non belief. he has no courage to ask on the internet for info about the origin of matter, cos he does not want to find out the bad news that there is most probably no creator, cos matter has always been there without volition while god is a whatever it is, with volition, and intention. good one too.
    WHAT BLOODY BULLSHIT AND CRAP HUMANS ALLOW THEMSELVES TO THINK AND UTTER!!!
    sorry, i am VERY angry. just imagine yourself that you are married in let’s say Poland or Ireland or Greece (!) to a simpleton who threatens your good life if you don’t do what she wants you to do, or else…
    he once admitted to me that if there were no common kids he would have left her long ago.
    please comment further, you are a man of his age, if you find anything soothing or explanatory for me. i love him dearly and i would give up my very life any time it is needed to help him, his both kids, and even this wife of his, cos without her he cannot raise two kids, one autistic. autism costs 3000 a month if you want to give to the child all that can be given, starting with 8 hours a day lessons in speech, the little one has not spoken a word yet and he is 6, and not to speak of food supplements and many other therapies. and we have just 300 e for him. 500 go just to the lady who takes him to the little school for normal kids and stays with him all the time there. he has not been toilet traind yet and maybe never will. so, small wonder my son’s fell to such deep lows, to look for ‘god’, but i want to do what i can in order not to help my other grandson, the smaller one, gets intoxicated with religion more than he will inevitable be, with such a mother which has all the control religion wise.
    lastly, i want to worn anyone to never marry outside their belief. let simpletons stick to each other and us the Brights, you know of the society, don’t you, will stick with other Brights. or, else, we are fucked up by them.
    but i have a helper
    MY MOZART.
    he was deeply religious, but in different times, and i am not looking for his brains, thou his iq is estimated to 165, but for his soul and talent. and he gives me all of it. plays all my waking hours at home. now too.
    sorry for my incoherence…

    1. I have a wife and a 2 year old son. Of course I’d do anything for them, but I haven’t been tested the way your son has. My wife is religious but only moderately, and besides getting the kid baptised she hasn’t tried any kind of indoctrination or announced that she will. Her mother hasn’t interfered either. The boy is healthy and coming along well.

      Your son sounds afraid that if he speaks out against the religion he will lose the support of his wife and family, and possibly even end the marriage. There may well be a bluff going on; would the wife cut herself off from her sons over all this? Everyone has something to lose here, your son is not entirely powerless unless he makes himself so.

      Just talk to him when you can. The way forward can only get clearer after that.

  2. you gave me courage so i have now thought about some other possible answers.
    excetpt for your suggestinon that it is not necesarry for me, or for everybody, to go to churc, my leading one is
    I DON’T LIKE IT THERE
    then follow the reasons why i don’t like it there, what exactly i don’t like in churches
    IT IS BORING IN THERE
    IT IS TOO DARK IN THERE
    IT IS TOO COLD/WARM/STUFFY IN THERE
    I AM SCARED IN THERE
    THE ‘SONGS’ SUNG IN THERE ARE NOT NICE/ARE BORING/SAD/TOO WHATEVER, SIMULTANEOUSLY REMINDING HIM I LOVE MOZART, NOT CHURCH ‘SONGS’
    IT IS TOO SERIOUS IN THERE
    IT IS TOO SILENT/QUITE IN THERE/I LIKE TO JOKE BUT IN THERE I AM NOT ALLOWED TO, NOR TO SPEAK LOUDLY ENOUGH BUT ONLY TO WHISPER…WHY?
    and finally, maybe just the first, that i don’t like churches, th at also
    I DO NOT SEE ANY REASON WHY TO GO TO CHURCH, NO REASON WHY.

    any other suggestions from the other atheists, or have i covered it all?!
    thanks in advance
    xxx

  3. p.s. i found yet another argument against church ‘songs.
    i don’t understand the words, they (whoever) ‘sing’ in a language unknown to me, and there is no textbook to learn this language, and that i believe nobody know this strange language, and why the hell, they don’t speak normally like you and i, but in this funny language, like everybody is dead (when he has learned the concept of death, for now even I say that my mom and his mom’s mom have gone up there to the skies, i don’t call it ‘heaven’; once i mentioned it to my daughter in law, that when i show to the little one the pictures where there are deceased people too, that i tell him this is your grand grand mom, my mom, and that she is up there in the sky, without mentioning the word ‘died’ or ‘death’, to which my daughter in law (dil) said that she tells the little one that her mom from the skies, only she says ‘heaven’ is watching him down here, but to which i said bravely that i would not go so far as to say such a thing, i did not use this harsh expression, but a milder one, like ‘this’, being an atheist that she knows i am. but we two were alone in the car there, with the little ones, so i dared tell her that much, but if my son had been there i would not have dared answer back to her info that her mom is watching the little one from up there, cos my son is always on her side. he obviously knows her better, i mean, what a mean bitch she can be if anybody touches her ‘belief’ in god, i am using the inverted speech cos i cannot bring myself to believe that anybody in all seriousness believes in ‘gods’s’ existence, a being without origin who originated everything from nothing, from thin air, and with volition and intention. too stupid to fathom. and they brag that they are members of species

    HUMAN SAPIENS SAPIENS!!!

    seriously…

    hahaha

    1. When the time comes and you need to give an answer just tell the truth. You have not met Jesus yet. But understand that you do have that opportunity to do so. He has told us as much. He promised us to meet us when we go to Him. So He has placed himself responsible to fulfill that promise. And it is obvious that He has kept that promise before because there are so many, even previous Atheists who have a vibrant, fulfilled relationship with Him. So you can too.

      1. “When the time comes and you need to give an answer just tell the truth. You have not met Jesus yet.”

        Or say you haven’t met Zeus yet. Or Odin. Or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Or tell them that there is zero evidence for any supernatural claim, and they can go to asktheatheist.com and see where Gerald has never provided any despite repeated requests to provide some. Just tell the truth, eh?

        1. You ask for evidence and I have submitted it. Lots of it. But you want to make up your own definition of what is evidence. I just responded to Tim, and his refusal to recognize what society itself has determined what evidence was. And the testimony of an eyewitness and or an expert witness has always been entered in as evidence. And there has even been one piece of evidence that both the defense and prosecution have used ans their evidence, only it is used to be shown in a different light. Now one of the evidence that the Christian uses to support the theory of Intelligent design, is us. Human beings. and life itself. But we have the tool of science that supports us in our theory. Because life has always been observed to have come from life. There are no observations where anyone has ever seen life come from nothing. So this on its own should cancel out the Atheists claim that life just started on its own, or by accident. But they doggedly continue with their theory even though one of the main things that they need to support their theory is assumed contrary to what our observations have always been.

    2. So thin air is worse then some type of soup? As mentioned by Gerald, the theory of biogenesis is observed everywhere and abiogenesis isn’t. If we don’t observe it, why do we entertain the idea that it’s possible, other then an explanation for the creation of life? Isn’t a higher power another explanation for life? Which is more unbelievable, I theory of something that we don’t observe or an infinite being that we “don’t” observe.

      You mention singing in a different language, do you mean speaking in tongues?

  4. PPS. SmartX:

    Why did you write, as the title of my question, ‘GENERATION gap’, thou it is obvious that it is NOT about my and my dil’s AGE gap, but that the gap is in that I am a very strong ATHEIST, while my daughter in law is a very strong THEIST and that my son found himself in between the two of us?!

  5. Don’t read too much into that Niki. It’s just that I rarely have to advise on family issues that involve three different generations, each with their own problems.

  6. “the theory of biogenesis is observed everywhere and abiogenesis isn’t.”No it isn’t unless you think that the minds of each Evolutionist is everywhere. Life is seen coming only from something that is alive. The intelligence variable may not be constant but where life comes from is. This eliminates the the theory that the Atheists and some Evolutionists
    have that life just appeared of some for some unknown reason, out of the blue. So, life came from Someone that had life. That is following the trail of logic. And after the passing of at least 6 or 7 thousand years of our being present on this planet, life coming from something or someone else is the only thing that we can logically expect to have happened before those years. You can fight on the details as to if that life were God or not, but to entertain an idea that is not supported by what has been observed is illogical and insane. And that is because of you want to go against the tools that science has said is its earmark then you go against what science is supposed to be.
    Now, if that matter is settled. Let’s go on to the Atheists next clunker of a question that they mistakenly, and regrettably on their part, use to try to shake the faith of the Christian. But it is like the 1+1 equation, there can be only on other possible answer, since the one that the Atheist offers is already ruled out due to the fact that it goes against what has been observed by so many observers who have seen life come only from life. And when you also take into account the fact that the reason other life is able to do what that life does, is due to the fact that those lives have received previous preprogramming into their DNA, enabling it to perform necessary functions at least innately. And since an all of a sudden life popping into life not having a parent to pass on programming, it wouldn’t have been able to do anything else but fade out of existence. And this should be something that is uncontestable to the Atheist and most Evolutionists, at least until they are able to support this theory in a controlled laboratory experiment. But until then science, SCIENCE, has told us that all life does what it does automatically, because of the preprogramming it receives from where it came from. And unless you are willing to concede that that life came from some other kind of life force, then the Atheists and ultimately the Evolutionists will need to, and should, drop the illogical theories of where they imagine life and this universe came from. And these are just some of the unanswered questions that the Atheist has bulldozed past without taking the time to address before they proposed this unproven theory

  7. “I theory of something that we don’t observe or an infinite being” Tim, you must realize that once you get past the first millions of years, infinty is relative. You are saying that there are bacterias and what nots that have been around as long and if you would consider what Stephen Hawking has postured that the life from this planet, could possibly have come from another planet, then that would add even more time. So, how is it so impossible that an Intelligent being could have been around at least as long as your gods the bacterias or what nots? Which brings us to another logical point that the Atheists and Evolutionists really love to ignore. That all life appears to have been intelligently designed. Pieces are put together that without them having had been placed at the same time there is no way that that species could have been survived. Like our respiratory system. Inhalation would have been useless without exhalation. And to get beyond the idea, comes the working model. How to perform. I’m telling you, that since my time of studies, I’m am totally transfixed by how we are created. Our respiratory system is a lot more than a duo functioning passageway to to permit the ingress and outgress of gasses. The mechanics are so overwhelming. The mechanism is artistically and ingeniously created. The membranes not only able to permit gases to transfer from the lung membranes but also to handle the affinity factor that each our organism has for oxygen. Our red blood cells needed to be able to want oxygen just so much so that it would pick up just the oxygen and whatever else of the other gases in our atmosphere. But if the affinity factor was too much then they wouldn’t release that oxygen into the surrounding tissue. Nor would it want to pick up the waste gases that needed to be expired. Tell me, just how could a mindless “whatever” figure out this all on its own. Analyzing and computing and testing and all that would be entailed, (not to mention how it would have survived long enough to figure it out and implementing) all that would have been required to get all oxygen breathing life forms to survive. (do I hear the words, “you know you’re right, it would have been impossible, being thought yet?). Or are you still going with that old trusted, tried and true, motto, “it will all be solved through Evolution. Time is all we need to solve this impossibility to happen factor? Well if you haven’t noticed, I don’t think that the little buggers could have held their breaths that long. And for that matter, just why would they have needed to come with another form of breathing if what they had is still being useful in the other not so complex simple organisms around today. I’m sure that whatever simple organism came first, has to have been able to survive today. Since, as you are certain, it was able to solve the respiratory problem, and do so without a brain, or computer. Surly time would have come to its aid with this problem since it helped, (as you say) to figure out how to do everything else. No, my Atheistic minded friend. Time does not cure all diseases. It doesn’t come with all the answers. Especially when all the factors are not in place. And that is where you have gone wrong by not including God as a factor of life. God solves all the questions. We needed to know how life started. Since God is life incarnate, He started all life. Did He have a beginning, well in a sense. He said in Revelation 22:13, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last” Now if you really want to have a more definite answer, come go with me to heaven and there you can ask Him for yourself, where He came from. I bet the answer will blow you away. Well and me too. I’d like know it there is something I have missed.

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