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My mom, Lois, came to visit Sam and I today. She had the whole week off from school (she's a preschool teacher), but Sam works long hours on weekdays so decided to visit on the weekend so we could all hang out together.
I was a hazy day, but we decided to go to the Santa Monica Pier because the clouds tend to keep the crowds away. Even though I live in West LA, I hadn't been to the pier in several years, and it'd been even longer for my Mom. Her cousin Doug was (still is?) a Santa Monica Police Officer.
After the pier we wandered around 3rd Street.
I'm not really a fan of shopping, but I like to people watch, and 3rd St has some of the most fascinating people. Earth Day 2006 is next Saturday, but apparently Santa Monica kicks off their celebrations / protests a week early because there were hippies as far as the eye could see.
Unlike Eric Cartman, I like hippies. I consider myself relatively eco-friendly, but I didn't really spend any time at any of the Earth Day booths because the sun had finally come out and I didn't feel like staying in one place too long.
Mom and Sam wanted to browse the stores and like I said, I don't like to shop, so I cruised over to Barnes and Noble by myself to read.
I very rarely read comic books, but I read a good chunk of The Best of American Splendor by Harvey Pekar. I was only vaguely familiar with the strip before seeing the film American Splendor in the theaters a few years ago. The film is brilliant and the comics are so banal that they border the bizarre.
After 3rd St we headed back to our apartment to relax before dinner.
While we we sitting around, my mom suddenly asked my general questions about my blog, like "what do you use your site for?" but the questions quickly became very pointed, specifically about porn.
I knew she was referring about my recent post about the experimental film Tokyo Elegy and I tried to explain that the film was NOT representative of the films I normally watch.
I watch many many films on a regular basis, and though I try to keep a Film Diary of my reactions to all the films that I watch, I usually don't have time to write anything more than a few notes, and since I don't like to post incomplete thoughts, I only publish a small fraction of my film diary entries. Every once in while, though, my reactions to a film are so overwhelmingly positive or negative that I can't help but to rant endlessly about how much I loved or hated a film. Recently, my rants have been about offensively horrible films, like Tokyo Elegy, which I watched on a whim.
It turns out, though, that my whim had unpredictable consequences, because my mom, being worrisome as most mothers can be, mistakenly got the impression from my rant about a film that involved a real-life pornstar playing a fictional pornstar, that somehow I was spending all my time watching (and occasionally reviewing) pornography.
This might sound like an absurd conclusion for my mom to draw, but when my mom mentioned my recent public debate about God (or the non-existence of God), I became clear that the real source of my mom's concern was my recent "conversion" to atheism (something that I've spent considerably more time discussing on my blog than porn posing as art).
My mom is deeply religious and I totally understand that it must be devastating to her to know that her oldest son has renounced the faith that she tried to instill upon me. My parents raised me in a very Christian environment, and my younger brother and sister remained obedient, faithful children, while I turned my back on God and my family.
Or at least that's how it seemed to my mom.
My mom's biggest fear was that when I started calling myself an atheist, I had become an immoral, evil person who commits unspeakable sins, including, among other things, watching porn. In my mom's eyes, a sinful downward spiral was the only logical outcome of being an atheist because for her, God is the source of all morality.
She ever asked me straight-up, if I loved Sam.
I tried desperately, until my voice was hoarse, to explain to my mom that I didn't turn my back on God, that atheism is NOT satanism, that I am still fully capable of love, that I am indeed still very much the sweet moral guy that she raised, only now I have much more progressive and liberal opinions about most things, including porn.
My atheism is the bi-product of education and rational thought, rather than ignorance and stubborn narrow-mindedness. My religion is philosophy; my God is science. And I would argue that atheistic morality is much purer than sectarian morality because it is rooted in a love of humans, rather than a love of a supernatural spiritual being (God).
I love my mom, even though I believe that her mind has been infected with the irrational memetic virus of religion. And I am eternally grateful that she confronted me about my atheism today.
My dad is much more outspoken and opinionated (like father, like son, I guess) and so I have had theological debates with him since the beginning of my epiphany that there is no god. My mom is much less confrontational, however, and so for six years now, my mom and I have avoided discussing our divergent faiths. Until today.
Again, I am grateful that she had the courage to engage me in a theological debate today, because my hope is that my mom, and my entire family, will one day awaken to the fact that there is no God. There is no heaven, there is no hell and this life is the only life we have.
I know my family is praying for me and for my soul, but I wish they would stop wasting their time. I have no soul to save, and their prayers have fallen on absent ears all these years.
My comment though is more in the line of a question. Do you have any idea of the factors that may have been involved in your "de-conversion"? I think the three factors were involved in mine. 1. I was undergoing some extremely stressful events in my life. 2. I actually read The Bible from cover to cover and my eyes were opened to the silliness of which most of it is composed. 3. I saw a Phil Donahue show in which the guest was Dan Barker of FFRF. (Those started the snowball rolling down the mountain anyway.)
Are you a member of the Internet Infidels Forum? We could certainly use your input here: http://www.iidb.org/vbb/forumdisplay.php?f=5
By the way, I couldn't leave my site URL because, evidently part of my site name is blacklisted. 4u dot com is blacklisted and my domain is facts4u dot com, which contains the blacklisted name.