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The Concept of God

October 9, 2011

With respect to my last post (the Nature of Personality Change), I’ll say that it was a summary/culling of thoughts I have written in my journal, communication I’ve had with my father via Facebook, and communication with my father via email. I sent him a very modified, longer, different, more personal version of the post (so maybe it won’t make sense to act as if you know what the email contained without reprinting that…but I will not), and then he responded to each of my points. There was one part to which he responded, however, that was interesting above and beyond all the rest. First, here is the section of what I wrote to which he is responding:

So, that’s why I say I really don’t know how to change this. Because if I look back to the last time I changed, then I have to admit that it was NOT the case that I “t[ook] advantage of the wisdom offered and move[d] forward successfully. ” Instead, unfortunately, it was exactly the case that I had to “learn the lesson painfully”…and fortunately, I was able to recover.

And this is his response (after the break):

You learned your lesson well and you used its fuel to help you achieve great things…but you forgot the lesson.  I tried to tell you this when you came home from school, but you could not hear me.  You came home from school and realized that you were good at school, that you could excel, that you had a great talent, and that it was not majorly challenging.  You wrapped all of that up into Hubris (arrogance over confidence) and your achievements became purely about you.  You basically cast God aside for logic and philosophy and your selfishness.  You made comments along the way about how You made things happen.  Essentially, the purpose for religion vis a vis God is so that we do not get wrapped up in accomplishments that we think were created solely on our own.  The concept of God is to teach us service, humility, love, patience, kindness, charity, meekness, justice, mercy, and forgivenss (to name a few attributes).  You started your rebellion against those things and you were praised for you accomplishmets and peoples accolades and marvelling in your accomplishments led you to you belief that you were the sole creator of your success.  At some point, you left Business Honors because it had served its purpose, but YOU had not need for itIt was things like this that you started doing.

It’s extremely interesting to hear the same “story” from him to counter my telling of it. I can see places where I would agree, but I can answer see places where I would disagree. I’m trying to work through my frustration with the places with which I disagree so I can work on the pieces of advice within.

Can you guess which line was most frustrating for me? I’ll spoil it for you: You basically cast God aside for logic and philosophy and your selfishness.

I need to tell you something. I need to tell everyone something. I did not cast God aside. I took my psychological health and well-being in my own hands. Is that selfish? Is it selfish not to want to hate yourself because you can’t cause yourself to believe what others around you believe, because you can’t cause yourself to feel what others feel? Is it selfish to decide that you would rather live and separate yourself from that environment than to feel that you are better off dead?

Maybe that’s casting God off. Maybe that is selfishness.

The line that is helping me to salvage the message are these ones:

Essentially, the purpose for religion vis a vis God is so that we do not get wrapped up in accomplishments that we think were created solely on our own.  The concept of God is to teach us service, humility, love, patience, kindness, charity, meekness, justice, mercy, and forgivenss (to name a few attributes).

Because of four words. The concept of God.

I feel as if I were to tell him that “the concept of” is the part that makes me salvage it all, then he would say that I am still in rebellion. As if atheism is just a phase. He would insist that God is still real and that it’s not “just” a concept. (of course, I expect some commenters, if they are reading this, to say the same…and if God seems realer than ordinary things to them, then how can they not?)

Other good parts….I said:

I don’t actually have a framework for “taking advantage of wisdom offered,” because all the important lessons I’ve learned so far have been through painful experience. But this really isn’t a sustainable way to learn stuff…

He replied:

You do have a framework for taking advantage of wisdome offered.  The vehicle we gave you  was the church…but your Hubris made you bigger and above the church.  The framework is in the tenets, not the doctrine, of the gospel.  You can still be yourself and have your own thoughts in the church.  You were not around long enough to learn that.  Over time you would have learned how imperfect the members are.  The lessons you would have learned were how to keep your comments to yourself, how to speak in a manner that would have been acceptable to the members, how to make decisions for yourself and still maintain the image, how to control your passion, how to think about what you say before you say it, how to get along with folks who racially and culturally are different than you, and how to maintain and make network connections within that body.  That is a gentle way to learn lessons as opposed to learning like the prodigal son did.  You became the prodigal son.

If only anyone had told me this sooner…

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From → Dad Talk

3 Comments
  1. For a lot of people, a connection with their deity is an ordinary (as in normal) thing.

    Your father is emotionally abusive, and is unwilling to see the damage he’s doing. The whole point of his letter seems to be victim-blaming, i.e. that you deserve everything that you get.

  2. Tachyon,

    I feel like the point is that I’m supposed to be more humble. unfortunately, that means that no matter how I respond, I only “prove” his point that I’m too proud, etc., etc.,

    I don’t think of it as emotionally abusive, but…I can’t quite comprehend and digest it at this point.

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