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On Strained Relationships

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I've found that as I learn more about the world around me, I have become much much more liberal in my views toward the world. I've also become much more uncertain about the nature of God, and especially Christ, which has been painful, but I'm trying to learn to find grace in the uncertainty.


I have also found that these more liberal and agnostic views have distanced me from my mother and someone I used to consider a very close friend. She was always there or me, and was always kind and supportive, and I believe she is a genuinely good person. The problem is that she is a staunch conservative Baptist, and I'm not anymore. I don't know that I ever really was. We haven't talked one on one in a while, and I worry what she would think of me now. I don't want to lose her as a friend, but I worry that our views on life are too different, and I'm not sure her husband likes me very much.


With regards to my mom, I think she's more understanding towards my views, but she doesn't know to what extent I have struggled or changed I don't believe. I know she worries for my soul, and I feel guilty for her hurting like that on my behalf. I also still have worries about eternity and what happens after we die and stuff like that.


How do you deal with it?

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How do you deal with it?




The family and friend issues are difficult and painful. When I changed my views on fundamental christianity at around the age of 19, I lost my entire friendship group I had grown up with. Not that any of them were nasty people, it's just that we had so little in common once church was taken out of the picture. I know that probably isn't what you wanted to hear, but hopefully your experience may be different. It does seem bemusing that some Christians 'back away' from those that have a change of heart when it comes to God, I mean Jesus didn't seem to have any problem socialising with those that were 'sinners'.


As for your worries about eternity and life after death, I have been through the wringer on the same issues myself (as many here have as well). I found that education was the key to my sanity. I read, listen and learn about where the bible comes from, in what cultural context the authors interpreted God, and how Christianity has been understood on a wide and diverse scale.


I currently do not believe/understand how there could be a God, but I too have had fears associated with the "what if" question though. The thing I take away from my learnings and this forum is that if there is a 'God', He/She/It is such that I have nothing to be afraid of.




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The relationship thing is hard, I think, for anyone. And i think that many times there can be many different things tied up in the dynamics of those kind of problems, especially with close and long term ties, like family. that we can never really unravel and deal with in a satisfactory way.



I've found myself having to deal with a lot of it by just realizing, and accepting, just as I was not ready for certain things I became ready for at some later time, somewhere further along my journey, so it is that others are where they are, and not ready for some of what I have come to. And that some may never be. And that's ok. I can't say I always succeed in acting out of that, speaking out of that, but that's my goal, anyway.


But yes, that does mean distance between ourself and some others can grow. Bonds weaken. Or become strained, if we press them. And as you observe, even you are not sure yourself about where you are in some things. I can say the same. That's sure not good ground to stand on if you get into a conflicted discussion with someone else about it..


Best I can say, just try to relate on ground you can, where there is some mutual views. But that isn't easy,either. The more attached others are to their beliefs, the harder that can be. They wind up pressing you even if you try to not press them.


Overall, just accepting, this is my journey. My path, Others have theirs. Sometimes we can walk together. sometimes not.



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How do you deal with it?


I hesitate to advise you knowing so little about the situation. But, I might suggest a couple of things. First, try to understand your mother's needs - progressive religion doesn't fit everyone's needs. Second, try not to make religion a critical part of the relationship. Maybe, you can agree that you have different views and focus on other things.



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It seems to me that some are not ready to live with uncertainty so they take up a religion that seems to have all the answers, howbeit not necessarily without error. That seems a most normal state or desire for humans as a social animal. To question is to step out from such.


When i stepped out, i lost my close friends, and ministering contacts whereby i was no longer welcome to minister in such churches and circles. New friends have appeared and i still hold the old ones in high regard realizing that they may not be ready for such at this time and they are content to sit back in their seats and feel at home on familiar ground. All are not yet ready to journey into new territory because it can be uncomfortable at times. Yet i am convinced that in the fullness of times all will have to leave their warm nest and venture out and they will all find that which is inevitable.


May you find the peace among turmoil that you seek. Even the religious cannot resist he/she who refuses to have others as their enemies. I have found that people, regardless of their tightly held beliefs, will be attracted by your actions that are founded in love rather than words.



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