Whittling Away Her Spirituality

I spent the day with my daughter yesterday. She said something to me that really took me aback and it disturbs me. She said she didn’t really believe in God, just maybe 3/4’s.

I asked if her dad has been talking to her about that, because I know he not only doesn’t believe in God (other than himself), but has utter contempt for those who do. She said no, that she was speaking for herself.

But I know he’s been working on her in subtle ways over the years.

Dd has always felt a love for God, and when her father tried to talk God down, she’s gotten upset with him. It distressed her that he would say he didn’t believe and that he’d talk in contempt about religion.

I’m not a religious person, but my spirituality has always been my deepest passion – ever since I was a child. From the time she was a baby, she was always filled with wonder and a connectedness with life that she called “God”. I see her losing this.

I’ve never preached to her about God, per se, though I have shared my thoughts, what it means to me. I don’t like the idea of shoving anything down anyone’s throat, but I do need to be aware that I’m not dealing with a normal person in her father. The same rules of good conduct do not apply.

I have not been actively trying to make her believe this or that, perhaps my mistake. But he has been trying to influence her to believe or not believe as he does. He’s subtle about it. Knowing out and out blasting of what I hold dear would not go well with her, he has been trying to undermine my beliefs for years.

He started a couple years ago when he decided to share “Life of Brian” with her, and had her singing the song about torture and laughing at religious figures and their hypocrisy. This was her first exposure to traditional Christianity. He’s impatient and dismissive when she’s prayed before eating. He will not skip an opportunity to point out some atrocity or hypocrisy done in the name of religion. He does not point out similar levels of brutality in secular regimes.

Just recently, he gave her a CD of music, and one of the songs is “Amish Paradise” by Weird Al. It’s meant to be a parody, and tongue in check “fun” song, but if you listen to it it’s really pretty contemptuous. She loves music. She sings along. He does too.

I don’t have an active church life. The one I love is an hour and ten minutes away. And I can only go twice a month if I did go.

What kind of person would want to take away something that fills a person with wonder and joy, that makes you feel like you’re part of something grander? To make a child just as cynical and ego centered as one’s self? An ego centered person I guess, a narcissist.

When will I learn that I’m not dealing with a normal person? It’s not about whether he’s an atheist or not. It’s about him wanting to make her just like him, about not giving her anything of value or depth to replace what he takes away.

In a way I am fighting for her soul with the devil.

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