Easter is just around the corner and each year my father and I find ourselves discussing religion. Again. To be honest, my father is one of the best men I know. He’s kind, loves hard and he’s brutally honest. He is also a devout Christian. I, however, could not be more different than him in this respect and refer to myself as a Buddhist witch. I believe in the power of the universe and the magic we possess as living beings. My father and I are very close and have real love for one another as only a father and daughter could. We have talked about our differences in faith many times, during the course of one of these discussions my father brought up “the end” if you will.
I’m sure it comes as no surprise that my father was raised Christian. He had 8 siblings, a tough military father and even tougher mother. I mean, she had 8 kids after all. When my father was young he lost one of his brothers to gang violence, you would think it would call your views into question but he stayed strong.
As an adult his faith continued to get him through some dark times. Loss of jobs, divorcing my birth mother, losing his own parents. His faith has not wavered. Not once. He tells me God will take care of it. Or, he can bless me because God has blessed him.
He told me how he personally witnessed the possession of a woman, Ann. He has shared the details of the horrifying event with me, which definitely left an impression on him and every single person present that day. My father explained that he along with several others were present when it happened. I of course asked the aunts he said were present about the incident and they shared the same story. Uhhh…Scary! Did not like that.
Needless to say that left a huge impact on him. I understand why his belief is so strong and why when he looks at the news he sees the bible coming true. He has tried to convince me many times that he “wants to see me in heaven” and really he just wants to make sure that I am okay more than anything else. Again, he is honest. He will share his religious views with anyone who decides to embark on that conversation with him.
My parents were both of the same faith and used to take my sister and I to church as children. He has always understood and felt something I have not. Again, no surprise my father loves me to bits. He would love nothing more than for me to change my mind and become a Christian woman.
Although I think part of him is very aware that is not going to happen. I was the kid that always fell asleep (much to my parents dismay) or played with random findings in the pew. From a young age, I was not interested in going to church, reading the bible or listening to Gospel music. I was, shall we say, a strange girl.
Both my parents encouraged my curiosity and my need to investigate the world around me. Nor did they raise me in a strict religious household, we were raised based on respect more than anything else. I questioned everything and everyone. Naturally when my father wanted to “debate” about religious views I asked him a ton of questions about everything. However there were several crucial thing he believed that I just cannot support. I was not going to become Christian because it was expected.
Gay rights. Don’t panic, I’m not going on a rant. BUT I will say, while he does not care if someone is gay he still believes it is wrong and a sin. I don’t believe that at all. I cannot condemn someone’s way of life or who they chose to love. Barely 50 years ago my partner, who is white, and I would have been judged the same way. Also, I believe that no matter what you call your idea of God, your merits as a person should matter more than the name you chose to call him or her.
I’m more of a commune with nature kinda of woman. To me, it’s your energy and intentions that matter more than anything else. Being a witch today has a different connotation then it did 100 years ago, energy is just too hard to deny be it good or bad. What you put out is indeed what you get back. I stay out of people’s business really and ask they stay out of mind. We don’t need to judge each other for our personal choices when there are bigger matters at hand. I was never a “good Christian woman” anyway.
My father and I agree that the world is going to shit. Rather than just argue against him, I decided to do a little research. So, I watched the Youtube videos and read excerpts from the bible regarding the state of the world when Christ returns. Even I can’t deny that it is frightening and I see exactly what he is saying.
Dangerous political alliances being formed, the massacre of people, global warming, the immense disrespect toward one another like it is going out of style. For him it all points to the inevitable returning of Christ. For me, I just think people suck and we should just hang out with our fur babies.
We agree on the major issues even if we disagree with the cause. He knows I feel strongly about accepting any and all and so does he for the most part. I mean, he is not going to be an asshole to you about your personal choices even if he doesn’t agree. We both believe in reciprocating kindness and being even more kind in the face of awful people, without being a doormat of course.
Christian or Witch, Does It Matter?
Respect goes a long way in the face of these disagreements. Take a look at the Facebook comments on any hot button issue and you can see the lack of respect toward other people. I have realized more and more as families have stopped talking to one another due to those differences and yet my father and I have found a way to agree to disagree. Our love for one another over powers those differences.
Don’t get me wrong, if you have toxic people in your life get rid of them! That is completely different. It’s about respecting we cannot agree on everything and accepting that it’s okay we don’t. Religion has divided many friends and families but it doesn’t have to. What should really matter is your intentions toward one another. It is not worth losing the love and support our relationship provides.
After all of my research to understand my father, I did not convert and become Christian. I love him but I cannot support something that will condemn people based on personal choices that is truly no ones business but their own. But I understand him more, and he has understood me too. We walked away with a greater respect for the others views and appreciation for standing strong on our own morals and ideas.
My relationship with my father will always be amazing to me for that. Even though I am his child, he has always respected me as my own person and has never forced me to conform to his way of thinking. We have a mutual respect not just as family but as individual people and there is nothing more beautiful than that.
I’m seeing parallels to my relationship with my mom here. Ironically, she was a big part of my “question everything” mantra growing up – she used to be so cool! She was a huge feminist, an artist, and a very progressively-minded “damn liberal” hippie type. She was still Catholic, though not a very devout one.
I was born and raised Catholic, with heavy influence from living with my maternal grandparents (my biological… we’ll say Y-chromosome donor – my Roy is the only one deserving of the “Father” title – and his family weren’t even a little bit present). My uncle was a priest. I went to Catholic school. I didn’t even have a bad experience with any of it; (most of) my teachers were exceptional, the priests at my parish were good (seriously – I was really relieved to learn that none of them ended up on this list and that they were very deserving of the respect we all had for them: https://report.archomaha.org/), and I’ve never in any way been a victim of sexual abuse, unless you count the very practice itself of demonizing and repressing biology and sexuality. Overall, I’m very thankful for this experience, because I think it truly was a better education than I’d have received from public school.
But I lacked the faith element. I drew issue with an “omnipotent” and “perfect” deity who still saw fit to create other beings (lonely? not a “perfect” quality) and then also require worship from them (extortion?) in order to reward them with entry into the happy afterlife where they’ll hang with this potentially mentally ill creator (who sounds more like a nerdy kid with a lot of familiar social issues than a perfect being!) forever. There’s so many more things to say here about “why” and I’m not looking to start a debate with anyone over the justification of our existence and the perfection of this deity; the point is I simply didn’t believe, despite trying *hard* to.
I had to claw my way out of all that; I had no family support when it came to renouncing my faith, and even among my friends it was difficult to find support from anyone I’d consider credible. Morality isn’t possible without a basis in religion? My ass! How about good for the sake of good, and not just good for the sake of jeopardizing your ticket into the happy place or avoiding eternal suffering (or the more evolved form of hell where you basically just fade into darkness and unimaginable non-existence or whatever)? How about doing good with your life for the simple reason that this one short shot is the only chance you get? Just one – no redos, no second chances. Get it right the first time, because that’s all you get, and then it’s DONE. Christians trying to convert you try to make it sound like it’s hard to “let Jesus into your heart.” BS! It’s easy if you can believe, because then all is forgiven no matter what happens in this life, and you’re guaranteed a happy ending. I’d argue that it’s a hell of a lot harder to go it alone, stare into the abyss, and try and accept that *nothing* is staring back at you, and when you die, you become nothing.
I’ve been going through some dark times of my own, and through this, it’s been a bit heartbreaking to still have this sort of “rift” between my mom and I; it’s like on a certain level, we will never be able to fully meet, and to fully reconcile our differences. She’s getting on in the years, and I have people in my life telling me that I should just fake it – pretend to “return to the flock” for her sake – and that doesn’t sit well with me at all. And maybe for her, when the time comes, I will, because for me, we’ll never have the chance to make that connection real, and that’ll be tragic either way, but for her, she’ll die at least thinking we did, so one of us gets to win at least.
So yeah, hug a tree while you can. Hug, and love, and be excellent to each other, and cherish your short existence, because in the end, we all go alone. =o)