Sent in by JP
I grew up Lutheran and never really had any problems with Christianity until I met my in-laws.
My wife's family is a very staunch,conservative and fundamental bunch. They are anti-homosexual, pro-life, anti-Santa, and very Republican. My family on the other hand is the exact opposite. I was taught to accept others for their differences and to do my best to love others unconditionally (which is a very difficult thing to do, I might add).
Anyway, after four months of dating, I knew Trish was the one. I had met her parents twice prior to purchasing a ring and felt as though they would have no problem accepting me into their family.
I called my soon to be father-in-law and informed him of my intent to marry his daughter. The first thing he asked me was "What are your thoughts on Christianity?" I told him that I do not believe that Christianity is the only way into heaven, that there is truth to all religions, and that I can not ignore that. He then asked me what my thoughts on Jesus were. I told him that I felt Jesus was a common man who had an innate ability to connect with people on a very personal level. I then told him that the true meaning of Christianity was to be Christ-like and to do your best to tolerate and love others unconditionally. My father-in-law then said that I was wrong on much of what I said and that he will not give me his blessings until he has spoken to his daughter. I told my father-in-law that his daughter is a grown woman and can make an informed decision on her own without his influence. He then asked me if I were going to propose regardless of his thoughts, then what was the point in asking. I told him that I figured he would be happy for us and that being a supposed "Man of God" (he's a pastor) that he would love me and welcome me into his family without hesitation. He told me that my thoughts on religion were ignorant and that I didn't know what I was talking about. That hurt me more than anything.
I have never been so disrespected and had never been judged so harshly by a supposed Christian.
Anyway, I went ahead and asked my wife and she said yes without hesitation. My father-in-law did not want to officiate our wedding and things have been very awkward the last two years between us. He really had an opportunity to show me what it meant to be a Christian, and he failed miserably.
Up until a few months ago they referred to me as "the situation" to their friends. I can understand them treating me this way if I had no direction and/or a means to take care of their daughter, but I own a house, I'm a college graduate, and my career is centered around helping troubled youth.
To this day my in-laws pray daily that I find Jesus and that I make it into heaven. My wife does not agree with her parents on any of this. She still practices her faith, but at least approaches things with an open mind.
This world is an ugly place, and religion is the root of it. We have killing in the name of God and organized protesting against homosexuality -- as well as bombings of abortion clinics -- all in the name of God, not to mention a world divided. Where's the good in this?
Anyway, I will never conform to a single religion and never will I conform to religion in order to gain acceptance from others. I am adamant that people learn to accept me for who I am versus how I spend my Sundays.
Christianity will never by my answer to happiness. Happiness solely relies upon you and only you, and when it comes to direction, my moral compass is the Golden Rule. I feel that too many Christians use religion as a crutch and find themselves so far out of touch with the world that it's a detriment to society and their own personal growth.
Anyway, there it is in a nutshell. I love my in-laws very much, and there is a lot of good in them, but to sacrifice a close relationship with me and my wife out of beliefs, I feel is a shame. They are free to believe in what they want, but I guarantee that God would never ask anyone to sacrifice a family member to prove their love for Him. That is just way too egotistical and arrogant for a supposed all-loving and caring God.
Online Reading List
- An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish by Bertrand Russell (1943)
- Bible Teaching and Religious Practice by Mark Twain
- God is Imaginary
- Is there an Artificial God? by Douglas Adams (1998)
- Skeptics Annotated Bible
- The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1795)
- Which Way? by Robert Ingersoll (1884).
- Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell (1927)