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Author Topic: Personal Moral Conundrum
KnightEnder
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My son's made a new friend last week, one of the refugees from New Orleans, and they wanted him to spend the night. His mother, like a good mother wanted to meet the parents of the boys he would be spending the night with. Since Stacy has been sick I went over there and met the lady. She was as nice as she could be and we got along great. We talked for an hour. However, several times during the conversation she brought up God and the fact that her son had always been in a Catholic school until moving here and going to the same school as my boys.

Anyway, I felt guilty not telling her my religious beliefs. But I didn't want her to think badly of me, or my boys, and I didn't want to end they boys new friendship. So, I just avoided the subject. Should I have said anything? I'm a man and I made my choice, but I'd like to hear what you guys think?

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WarrsawPact
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She didn't ask.
You didn't tell.
And so far as I can see, that information won't help or hurt anyone.

However, I'm a big fan of having as much transparency as you can afford to have. Be as open as you can be; you're not a terribly intolerant person. If you can talk to several Catholics here just fine, why not in real life?

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KnightEnder
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Thanks, WP.

KE

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pickled shuttlecock
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You should save it for months, and then spring it on her like it's a venereal disease. "By the way, I'm a dyed in the wool athiest! Wait, wait...I've got horns, too."

(Disclaimer: I accept no personal responsibility if this ends up being spectacularly bad advice.)

Anyway, there's a chance she brought up God to give you a chance to talk if you wanted to. She may just conclude that you keep your beliefs private.

Or she just likes to talk about God a lot. If that's the case, I see many awkward situations in your future. That'll be five dollars.

[ October 29, 2005, 03:37 AM: Message edited by: pickled shuttlecock ]

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WarrsawPact
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Oh my God. I just realized I've been typing it "died in the wool" rather than "dyed in the wool" for a long time.

Hahahah... whoops.

[ October 29, 2005, 04:16 AM: Message edited by: WarrsawPact ]

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TinMan
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Think about this a bit. Why should you be ashamed of your beliefs, yet tolerate hers? If she is the kind of woman who would believe that not being Catholic is wrong, she is probably raising her son with the same set of beliefs. Is that the type of person you want your son to be friends with? Not the type who has an alternate belief set, but one that will not tolerate other alternate belief sets?

I would be direct about it, without being confrontational, perhaps referencing Darwin or evolution several times, and see how she responds. If she's tolerant, everything's hunky-dory. If she's not, probably better to distance early in a budding friendship than later when the ties are deeper.

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aupton15
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I don't think you're obligated to share personal beliefs with your son's friend's mother. Not on the first date, as it were. I agree that transparency can be a good thing, and there should be no problem with you sharing this in the future when the two of you know each other a bit better. But for now, religion can be a very touchy subject, and it's not really necessary to get into it just to ensure that your children can play together. If she brought up being a Republican, I don't think you should necessarily jump into that either. It would be too easy to turn a pleasant first experience into an awkward situation for both of you, and your children. I think you handled it just fine.
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LoverOfJoy
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If you planned to teach your son's friend your beliefs then it would be important to share it with his mom. If you don't think it'll ever come up around him, then I think you're fine.
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Gaoics79
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quote:
Think about this a bit. Why should you be ashamed of your beliefs, yet tolerate hers? If she is the kind of woman who would believe that not being Catholic is wrong, she is probably raising her son with the same set of beliefs. Is that the type of person you want your son to be friends with? Not the type who has an alternate belief set, but one that will not tolerate other alternate belief sets?
He doesn't know anything substantial about her beliefs at the moment, so this kind of speculation is pointless. I'm with Warsaw: she didn't ask, and you shouldn't tell. That doesn't mean you go out of your way to avoid telling her, but until it becomes an issue, why worry? Worst comes to worst, she won't let your sons be friends. Plenty of fish in the sea.
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pickled shuttlecock
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What's funny is that we Mormons run into this occasionally with fundamentalist Christians (and some evangelicals). We end up asking the same kinds of questions. Should we say anything when there's a good chance it just won't be taken well? ("Children of the devil! Let me tell you what you get up to in those temples of yours! I fear for your soul, brother!")

Hinting around Darwin to get information is a bad idea. It's possible that, not knowing KE's beliefs, she'd go into a tirade about evolutionists, while still being the kind of person that would befriend an athiest.

Anyway, it'll probably just come up eventually through KE's kids. Kids talk about everything, and they're much less inhibited in talking about religion than adults. They're also pretty well uninhibited in talking about their parents in any way.

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The Drake
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I would say that it is perfectly ok not to volunteer the information. I do think she may have brought up the subject to feel you out, but she might have been looking for something in common - not something she was worried about.

How will you respond if her child wants to say a prayer before a meal? Or if they want your child to bow his head at their table? Or join them at church? These are the things that you might want to think about.

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Jesse
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Bigoted comment of the day:

I've never, and I mean never, been denounced or verbally assaulted by a Catholic for my beliefs about the Divine. Just my personal experience maybe, I dunno, but the worst I've ever gotten was odd looks for sitting quitely without bowing my head or joining in when my friends family used to pray before meals.

As long as you aren't trying to convert her son to your point of view, and I seriously doubt that you would do anything that could even be percieved that way, I doubt you will have any problems.

If it does come up, "why don't you go to church", just tell her. Unlike many Extremist Evangelicals, Catholics just aren't prone to react to an aethist as a threat.

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Kalami
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quote:
If she is the kind of woman who would believe that not being Catholic is wrong, she is probably raising her son with the same set of beliefs. Is that the type of person you want your son to be friends with? Not the type who has an alternate belief set, but one that will not tolerate other alternate belief sets?

Holding a belief is not intolerance. Sure, she probably is raising her son to believe in God, and teaching him that that belief is true, which also implies that people who don't believe in God are in error. So...? Where's the problem?

Just because I belive someone is wrong about something doesn't mean I'm going to treat them with contempt or hatred or rudeness. I would treat them with respect. I might think them wrong, sure. But that wouldn't take away from how I'd treat them. I guess I don't see the link between belief and intolerance.

Of course, if you mean by intolerance "thinking that what you believe is true and what someone else believes is false," then anyone who thinks there is truth and falsity is intolerant.

[ October 29, 2005, 05:27 PM: Message edited by: Kalami ]

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KnightEnder
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Thank you all for your kind words. I feel much better about the situation. And of course I would never try in any way to persuade someone elses child concerning religion, or any number of other subjects.

Last night she called (panicked) and said that her son had not returned home yet and it was after dark, (it's getting darker here, but day light savings is this weekend). My wife told her that our sons had not returned home yet and that I was out looking for them. By the time I found them, where I knew they would be, playing dodgeball in the sand volley ball court (Stacy) had caught up with me and told me that the new boys mother had asked if we would escort him home which we did.

The confusion really coming because our kids know they are supposed to be in by 8 when it gets dark, but it was dark at 7, so we cut them some slack. I don't know how she handled her kids but I was glad she trusted us to help, and happy to to do so. We parents have to stick together.

My oldest is more militant (teenager) when it comes to our agnosticism/atheism and he voiced the fact that he would tell him exactly how we believed. Since it is our younger childs friend I forbid my oldest from divulging that information unless directly questioned by the new boy. I think he is as intent on ruining his younger brother's new friendship as he is on touting our lack of belief. But he is a good boy at heart, and I am sure he will do as I tell him and refrain from pushing our beliefs on his younger brothers new friend. The mom is as nice as could be and even sent over a microwave heating pad for Stacy's aching neck/tumor (God forbid).

KE

[ October 29, 2005, 06:04 PM: Message edited by: KnightEnder ]

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The Drake
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I wonder where he got that militant posture...

quote:
Originally posted by KnightEnder:
Religion evolved out of man's curiosity and superstition, then it was intelligently manipulated by those who saw it as a way to gain power and status (which today equals money).

[Smile]
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