Saturday, November 30, 2013

My Mother Is A Young Earth Creationist

It's Thanksgiving again and my mom is in town visiting me for the holidays. This means we will inevitably argue a little bit over religion and evolution. It happens every time I see her, which is usually about once a year. My mother is a young earth creationist. She literally believes the universe and earth were created less than 10,000 years ago, and that Noah literally put two of every "kind" of animal on a single boat. When I challenge my mother with how absurd these beliefs are in light of the evidence, she usually tries to change the subject. She's actually behind the Pope and the Catholic Church in this respect because even the Catholic Church officially embraced evolution as being compatible with god back in the 90s under Pope John Paul II. But my mother won't have any of it.

A few years ago when I became an antitheist my mother and I would clash constantly over our opposing worldviews. But no amount of evidence will ever convince her that evolution is a fact, because she believes scientists are mostly godless heathens who have an agenda to destroy god. Recently I've learned to simply just avoid the subject with her. It's no use arguing. Creationists don't care about evidence; they have faith. That's all they need. I still however, take the occasional jab at religion at my mother's expense and she just roles her eyes, but we have the kind of relationship where she's knows I'm a hardcore atheist and I'm never in the closet about my disdain for religion around her. I wouldn't have it any other way.

I don't know what happened to my mom over the past 15 years. I had a very liberal upbringing. She raised me in a secular home and never forced any religion onto me. As a kid my mother let me drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, watch porn and stay out as late as I wanted. I basically did whatever I felt like. I had every teenagers dream. Then when I was around 17-18 she started embracing her Catholicism and became very conservative, but by that time it was too late - I was already an adult. I moved out when I was 20 and I didn't have to deal with her anymore and I've fully retained that liberal ethos from my upbringing.

Despite the clash of our worldviews, I love my mother dearly. She's worked very hard to raise me in a middle class family and she's done more than what most mothers do for their children. She's not a tyrant at all. She's not even the stereotypical conservative. I was shocked recently when I learned my mother actually supports marijuana legalization. I was further shocked to learn that she listens to R & B, funk, soul, and even R. Kelly(!) despite being totally white and from suburbia.

One thing about conservative Catholics nowadays is that they will generally embrace having heathens like me in the family easier than conservative Protestants will. I've heard so many horror stories of conservative Baptists disowning their kids who've come out to them as atheists and I think it only goes to show how stupid religion really is when you take it seriously. The thing is, although my mother is a true believer who actually goes to church, she doesn't wear her religion on her sleeve. She's capable of interacting socially without invoking the name of god and Jesus every 5 minutes. This makes it possible for us to get along.

So, how does a militant atheist son like myself and a young earth creationist mother manage to cope with our differing worldviews? It seems that the only thing we can do is to just avoid the topic of religion altogether. As I get older I appreciate my loving family more and more. My atheism doesn't seem to have had any affect on my mother's love for me and I'm thankful for that. I suppose as long as that can be maintained, I can live with a mother who holds ridiculous beliefs. What perhaps makes it easier for me compared with other families with atheist kids and religious parents is that I was raised secular and liberal, whereas many atheists were raised religious and conservative. And while I don't expect my mom to ever embrace atheism as she once did, I would like it if my mother accepted evolution or at least old earth creationism. But still, I'm not going to hold it against her if she doesn't.

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