Wedding Woes

You're trying to fight a losing battle.

Dear Prudence, 

My (now) husband and I grew up in a somewhat religious community—think all day Sunday at church and another four nights a week of church functions. It was wonderful for us to have such a joyful and supportive community that included our large extended families. We’ve had children (two children now, more on the way!) and they are eagerly part of this century-old family tradition.

One minor thing: I need a script for how to deal with my father, a deacon in the church and the family patriarch. We’re fine with him bringing Jesus into every conversation—where else does our Lord have to be anyway? But I believe in evolution, and I want my children to also believe in evolution, as that is the science. My father does not believe in evolution, he is very vocal about this, and I do not have the background to debate his points. What do I say when he pulls out ironclad arguments like “Adam and Eve weren’t apes” or “I’ve been going to the zoo for 40 years and the monkeys are still monkeys?” I become bamboozled and have to back down, and my husband (he reads Slate) is no use, he just wants to get along. I don’t want to shame my father or make him back down. I want my father to see that science does not conflict with the scripture, science proves the scripture, know what I mean?

—Evolution Not Eve-olution

Re: You're trying to fight a losing battle.

  • mrsconn23 said:

    Dear Prudence, 

    My (now) husband and I grew up in a somewhat religious community—think all day Sunday at church and another four nights a week of church functions. It was wonderful for us to have such a joyful and supportive community that included our large extended families. We’ve had children (two children now, more on the way!) and they are eagerly part of this century-old family tradition.

    One minor thing: I need a script for how to deal with my father, a deacon in the church and the family patriarch. We’re fine with him bringing Jesus into every conversation—where else does our Lord have to be anyway? But I believe in evolution, and I want my children to also believe in evolution, as that is the science. My father does not believe in evolution, he is very vocal about this, and I do not have the background to debate his points. What do I say when he pulls out ironclad arguments like “Adam and Eve weren’t apes” or “I’ve been going to the zoo for 40 years and the monkeys are still monkeys?” I become bamboozled and have to back down, and my husband (he reads Slate) is no use, he just wants to get along. I don’t want to shame my father or make him back down. I want my father to see that science does not conflict with the scripture, science proves the scripture, know what I mean?

    —Evolution Not Eve-olution

    You shouldn't seek to engage.  

    What you can do is work on bean dip skills but also start to research the science.  Should your dad be someone who has the kids alone then what you can do is say, "Dad, you are welcome to continue to believe this but I'll be the person educating my kids."  


    Casadena
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    "Obviously the monkeys are still monkeys, evolution doesn't mean that monkeys morph into humans before your eyes." Maybe read a very basic book or do some simple research here, because he's obviously pulling ideas out of his rectum. But yeah, privately tell your kids that grandpa has some ridiculous ideas and sometimes it's easier to just nod and let him think whatever. 

    Although I'd be more tempted to laugh at him and act like he's joking, something like a sarcastic "it's on the internet, so it must be true!" (Sort of like when my H jokes that the earth is flat.)
    banana468
  • Uh oh. The LW is getting pretty liberal there. She better calm herself down before their community makes her wear a scarlet E (for Evolution) on her clothing.  If her husband reads Slate, than he is already lost to Satan.

    Seriously though, I was feeling claustrophobic just reading this letter.  I'm all for praising God and trying to live in his image.  But spending almost all your free time at church sounds completely awful.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    mrsconn23Casadena
  • Uh oh. The LW is getting pretty liberal there. She better calm herself down before their community makes her wear a scarlet E (for Evolution) on her clothing.  If her husband reads Slate, than he is already lost to Satan.

    Seriously though, I was feeling claustrophobic just reading this letter.  I'm all for praising God and trying to live in his image.  But spending almost all your free time at church sounds completely awful.
    I agree. I'm having a seriously hard time not judging the fuck out of this LW because it's never 'one little thing' in these scenarios.  Hardcore religion and beliefs like LW is describing are not open for any kind of nuance.  You follow doctrine or you're not 'one of them'.  There's no grey area or debating of ideas.  You listen to a handful of people who tell you how to live and whether or not you're 'good' or 'bad' (and going to hell).  I'm sure there's a feeling of community tied to it, but what's underneath is so sinister and controlling.  

    It sounds Mormon or the like to me with being at church all day and spending several days a week there. It's how they keep the control of their congregation while they live in the community (which is also strategic for proselytizing purposes...I had a few friends over the years who were Mormon and I got invited to services).  
    MyNameIsNotshort+sassy
  • I think I'm being bitchy, but I feel like if LW can write into Prudie, she can google?  This are common arguments that religions use, like I have heard these phrases in debates between creationists and atheists a lot and they're easy arguments to dismantle.  She shoudl be able to find information for the lay person that is very easy to use against her father.

    LW's main issue, really, is that creationists aren't easily disabused b/c they're not interested in being proven wrong or actively working to be skeptical on information they're being fed by their religion.  There's a fantastic scene in Futurama where they're arguing about the evolutionary line between chimpanzees and humans and the creationist always says "and we don't know this" the scientist over and over.  And when the scientist finally has to admit "yes, we don't know this very particular piece of information between these 2 lines" BOOM!  a god.  It's called the "god of the gaps" argument.

    If LW wants to stay in their religious community, I suspect that she is just going to have to tell her kids (like my mother did me), "We support science and it's findings" and take it from there.
    banana468mrsconn23MyNameIsNot
  • levioosalevioosa Southern California member
    Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    If you’re spending all day on Sunday at church and then 4 additional nights at church functions, you are not, in fact, “somewhat religious.” That ship has long since sailed 


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    STARMOON44MyNameIsNotcharlotte989875MesmrEwe
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