My mother is a practicing Pentecostal Christian and has recently begun heavily witnessing to my five-year-old son. I was raised in this cult-like religion, but have been an atheist for nearly 10 years now. Although my mother and I have never had an in-depth conversation regarding my deconversion, she knows where I stand on the issue of religion.
The past few times my son has spent time with her (she lives several houses away so he doesn’t see her regularly) she has taught him religious songs and has talked to him about inviting Jesus into his heart, praying, Heaven, etc. She has placed prayer cloths (strips of cloth church members pray over) in his room and once when she kept my son and infant daughter overnight at her house she took them to choir practice and had the choir members pray over them.
To make matters worse she has asked my son to keep these things a secret from me, and his father who is also an atheist. Being five, my son of course cannot keep a secret, and told us what happened after each event. I’m not sure how to approach my mother regarding her behavior.
My mother and I have always been extremely close and I love her very much, but I am deeply saddened and hurt by her actions. I know that I cannot have a rational conversation with her because I have tried this in the past. When my son was one, she said she wanted to take him to Sunday School and I explained in as nice a way as possible that this was not going to happen. She became enraged and cried uncontrollably. The subject was never broached again by either one of us. My husband is angry with my mother and wants me to talk to her ASAP. I know that I have to speak with her about this, but I don’t want to permanently damage our relationship. Do you have any advice on how I can talk to my mother?
Last year, Annaka Harrispublished a children’s book that was ideal for atheist parents. It was called I Wonder and it was about a little girl who learned that it was perfectly fine to say “I don’t know” regarding the mysteries of the universe.
Following the leads of Jenny McCarthy, Mayim Bialik, and Kristin Cavallari, actress Alicia Silverstone (you remember her from Clueless) is jumping onboard the train of ignorant mothers who eschew vaccinations for their kids because they think they know better than the scientists.
Last month, we heard from Carl Sagan‘s son Nick about his father’s legacy.
Now it’s his half-sister’s turn. Writing for New York Magazine, Sasha Sagantells us about her life growing up, including the time she asked her father about whether he would ever see his deceased parents again: