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Discussion 1 to Ask the Patriarch 216
It's a one step at a time process

by: Kristine Robinson

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Dear April,

It can be very hard for people who believe in a god to understand how people function without believing in a one. You may find that it's going to be difficult for you to explain it to your mother without her getting upset, because if she believes very deeply, she possibly thinks that bad things will happen to you if you don't believe in her god.

You haven't said what religion you are referring to, but the majority of them have rules against lying (also known as bearing false witness). I suggest that you explain to your mother that you're feeling uncertain about the existence of God. That you feel it would be unethical and immoral to lie about your doubts, or to attend religious services pretending to believe. Tell her that if God is real, God knows your doubts and knows that you're lying if you take part in religious services as if you believed.

Your mother may ask you to talk with your Minister/Rabbi/Pastor/Imam etc., if that happens I suggest you agree and explain your position to them. Compromise is key here. Make sure she feels like you're giving her a little room to manoeuvre. If she feels trapped, she's going to get upset.

This is a one step at a time process. You need to act slowly, be patient, and not try to do it all at once. Your mom has feelings too, don't make her feel like you're not listening to her side of things.