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Old 06-25-2013, 06:50 PM
 
Location: Southern Oregon
16,293 posts, read 7,669,209 times
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First, and I'm sure you already said it, if God is what we believe, S/He isn't gonna strike him with lightening. I did about 30 years of actual atheism and the closest light......wait, that's another story. What is his current activity insofar as expression of faith? Going to Meeting, youth activities?
What is his greatest concern about doubting?
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Old 06-25-2013, 07:03 PM
 
Location: USA
15,906 posts, read 8,181,103 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nateswift View Post
First, and I'm sure you already said it, if God is what we believe, S/He isn't gonna strike him with lightening.
Yes, I very definitely did share that, but I think he already knew I would say something along those lines.

Quote:
I did about 30 years of actual atheism and the closest light......wait, that's another story.
One I'd love to hear if you're ever inclined to share.

Quote:
What is his current activity insofar as expression of faith? Going to Meeting, youth activities?
No, he hasn't expressed any interest in going to any type of church services although he goes with his dad from time to time to various churches. Things surrounding church are sort of complicated for us, and I won't go into details, but I don't really attend at all anymore. And the church we belonged to was never a place that felt like home to any of us, so...

(As an aside, I was going to go to a meeting like you recommended but the phone was disconnected when I called to verify the time, so I guess they aren't meeting anymore.)

He's been reading some books his dad suggested to him (Max Lucado, mainly) but that's about it.


Quote:
What is his greatest concern about doubting?
He had a hard time articulating that, but mainly it's that he doesn't like the feeling that God doesn't have his back. It's scary for him. 18 is a tough age as it is, as they're preparing to face the world without their parents to a greater degree, you know? I think he's feeling abandoned. I'm not sure that is really all that's bothering him, but it seemed to be the main thing.
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Old 06-25-2013, 07:16 PM
 
Location: USA
15,906 posts, read 8,181,103 times
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Let me just add this about church/youth group. I really have NO interest in sending him in the the direction of a mainstream Christian church. There's just too much indoctrination and threat of hell and such for me to be comfortable with suggesting that to him. We live in a rural area, as well, so the options are limited.
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Old 06-25-2013, 07:32 PM
 
Location: Southern Oregon
16,293 posts, read 7,669,209 times
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Heh, I have a really HUGE poplar tree next to my house and one day I noticed a fairly fresh streak indicating that it had been hit. We have some lovely thunderstorms from time to time.

Honestly, I don't know if I can be of any help. I came out of my atheism period with a really different perception of what God is all about, and I guess from what you have said, your perceptions have change a lot too. I think it would be a good thing if you can kind of talk to him about how and what has changed in your perceptions; conventional theology that just doesn't work for you, maybe work out the beginnings of a basic concept that you can share.
I don't know. I started from a position of hard determinism and I just realized that I couldn't buy it any more. I believe that there is a Spirit at work in the world today and that the best expression of it is in the life and teaching of Jesus. Whatever else, love works. I don't know how useful that might be in the idea of "having your back" but to know that regardless, there are people who are concerned about you has to be something.

Growing pains.....still got 'em myself and I'm 70.
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Old 06-25-2013, 08:16 PM
 
Location: USA
15,906 posts, read 8,181,103 times
Reputation: 2103
Quote:
Originally Posted by nateswift View Post
Heh, I have a really HUGE poplar tree next to my house and one day I noticed a fairly fresh streak indicating that it had been hit. We have some lovely thunderstorms from time to time.

Honestly, I don't know if I can be of any help. I came out of my atheism period with a really different perception of what God is all about, and I guess from what you have said, your perceptions have change a lot too. I think it would be a good thing if you can kind of talk to him about how and what has changed in your perceptions; conventional theology that just doesn't work for you, maybe work out the beginnings of a basic concept that you can share.
I don't know. I started from a position of hard determinism and I just realized that I couldn't buy it any more. I believe that there is a Spirit at work in the world today and that the best expression of it is in the life and teaching of Jesus. Whatever else, love works. I don't know how useful that might be in the idea of "having your back" but to know that regardless, there are people who are concerned about you has to be something.

Growing pains.....still got 'em myself and I'm 70.
yeah, me too.

Hey Nate, sounds a lot like what I've already said to him, so that makes me feel like I'm on the right track. Thanks.
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Old 06-25-2013, 08:30 PM
Status: "6' - 220" (set 2 days ago)
 
Location: Ontario, Canada
25,870 posts, read 13,445,735 times
Reputation: 11690
Quote:
Originally Posted by nateswift View Post
Heh, I have a really HUGE poplar tree next to my house and one day I noticed a fairly fresh streak indicating that it had been hit. We have some lovely thunderstorms from time to time.

Honestly, I don't know if I can be of any help. I came out of my atheism period with a really different perception of what God is all about, and I guess from what you have said, your perceptions have change a lot too. I think it would be a good thing if you can kind of talk to him about how and what has changed in your perceptions; conventional theology that just doesn't work for you, maybe work out the beginnings of a basic concept that you can share.
I don't know. I started from a position of hard determinism and I just realized that I couldn't buy it any more. I believe that there is a Spirit at work in the world today and that the best expression of it is in the life and teaching of Jesus. Whatever else, love works. I don't know how useful that might be in the idea of "having your back" but to know that regardless, there are people who are concerned about you has to be something.

Growing pains.....still got 'em myself and I'm 70.
With any luck, we'll still be feeling a twinge or three at 100+.

Where there's life, there's potential for growth.
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Old 06-25-2013, 08:40 PM
 
32,532 posts, read 30,690,959 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pleroo View Post

But intellect isn't particularly satisfying when you're desiring a relationship with your Divine Parent. .....

So, I guess the question is ... do I just leave it at that? Is there something more I should be saying to him or doing for him?
Is that what he wants? A relationship with God/a Divine Parent? (As a believer I can only speak to that part.)
If it is encourage him to talk with his friends who are believers about it. Eighteen is the age when you start meeting people from all walks of life and all beliefs and it can get confusing. So many paths. So many beliefs.

But make sure he knows you're in his corner no matter what. Eighteen is also when the Big Bad World and all its responsibilities becomes a reality.

Oh, and if he's a reader ask him who his heroes are. And encourage him to read their biographies. I think we look up to certain people for a reason. He could find some of the inspiration he's looking for in the stories of their lives. (I did. )
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Old 06-25-2013, 09:39 PM
Status: "6' - 220" (set 2 days ago)
 
Location: Ontario, Canada
25,870 posts, read 13,445,735 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pleroo View Post
Okay, I'm posting a question here to my cd friends because I'm not looking for any kind of debate or judgment, just advice. Hope that's okay to do in this thread.

My 18 year old son came to me today pretty distraught because he has sincerely been doubting the existence of God. He's feeling hung out to dry ... alone, scared, depressed. Deja vu. I get it, of course, but it still sort of caught me off guard since none of my kids have ever expressed those kinds of doubts before.

I told him I'm on the fence myself, which totally shocked him, and I shared with him how I cope with the feelings that doubt engenders. He said that did help him, and I'm glad.

However, what I can't help him with is how to go about finding a connection with God because I don't have one. All I have is an intellectual understanding of what I believe about God, which is helpful to a degree, and which I openly share with him and the rest of my children to the degree that they show an interest.

But intellect isn't particularly satisfying when you're desiring a relationship with your Divine Parent. I've learned to live with that as my reality, while still remaining open to the possibility of some day having that relationship. But I obviously don't feel qualified to give him a lot of guidance on how to seek out that relationship and that's what I've told him.

I said he should feel free to seek out whatever ways of connecting that he feels comfortable with, with full confidence that I won't judge him for any conclusions he comes to and that I will support him to the best of my ability. And I gave him a few vague suggestions of things he might consider trying.

So, I guess the question is ... do I just leave it at that? Is there something more I should be saying to him or doing for him?
Few people suffer from spending more time in natural surroundings. If you and/or your son are comfortable in the outdoors, I'd suggest a camping/fishing/hiking/bonding time or twelve together. Under a smog-free, night-time sky awash with stars, with a belly full of fire-roasted, fresh-caught trout, you'll find that discussions on subjects That Really Matter come rather easily.

Or not. Doesn't matter. You'll feel and establish a closeness that's difficult to achieve in one's everyday existence. It helps to alter the surroundings/reality. It's easier to drop the behaviours you habitually use with each other.

Even if my particular prescription doesn't fit your personalities or circumstances, the real point is to find something you and your son both enjoy, and make time to indulge in it together.

The fruits of understanding and trust will follow if you're honest with each other. Even if that honesty is admitting that when it comes to the Big Questions, nobody really knows for sure.
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Old 06-25-2013, 09:56 PM
 
Location: USA
15,906 posts, read 8,181,103 times
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Thanks DewDrop and Trout. There's good stuff in both your posts. I appreciate you both.
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Old 06-29-2013, 04:27 PM
 
20,427 posts, read 9,845,914 times
Reputation: 1678
It's what is in their hearts that matter; not that of peer pressure or what others believe.
Often times, it is difficult to let go of the things we are taught, however, for my daughters?
It was having the freedom to express themselves without condemnation; and unconditional love.

"The Mountain air, and an Ocean breeze; can be quite refreshing from the Stressors of this life."


Last edited by Jerwade; 06-29-2013 at 04:39 PM..
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