Mother yelling at her child that he must believe in God.

April 11, 2007 | By | 8 Replies More

This one-minute video (which I found on Dispatches from the Culture Wars) raises dozens of questions (many of them having nothing to do with the subject being discussed between this mother and son). But this video also succinctly illustrates the way that mindless dogma can give wings to stupidity and cruelty.

Are all conversations between parents and children regarding religion like this? Absolutley not. On the other hand, I suspect that hundreds of conversations like this occur every day and, further, that it is against the attitude displayed by this “mom” that so many of us non-believers spend so much energy rebelling. If we could somehow remove God from the conversation, we could see this exchange for what it is, a foolish and grotesque abuse of power. Such a sad, powerful and disturbing image.

This video reminds me that maybe it’s not really religion against which so many of us non-believers rebel. Even though this attitude all too often goes under the name of religion. I say this because innumerable acts of kindness are also “committed” in the name of religion.

I can only hope that this mother someday learns to patiently listen to her child and to feel some empathy for his concerns. If she doesn’t, she’s going to run him off forever. If she hasn’t already.


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Category: American Culture, Religion

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (8)

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  1. Skblllzzzz says:

    She went ballistic, but did she go postal as well? Kid brother or sister took the camera away maybe fearing something really bad coming? Is the boy still alive? Or maybe he is detained at Guantanamo bay……

    At least he discovered he is capable of his own thoughts.

    Reminds me of something I read in a cartoon (not very well translated from Dutch): "The Gods live and die in Heaven as they do in the hearts of people."

  2. grumpypilgrim says:

    Abuse of power, indeed! Given that most people accept the religious beliefs of their parents, I wonder how often it is the result of overt intimidation, as shown in the video, and how often it is the result of more subtle methods. Certainly some parents must merely set an example of being "good people," which the parents then attribute to their religion, and then the children simply cannot distinguish the love and admiration they have for their parents from the belief they have in the same god. I often suspect this is one reason why so many people become so passionate about their religious superstitions: to dispute their myths is to question the integrity of their parents.

  3. Erika Price says:

    I don't think this woman could have responded in a more illogical, heinous way even if she tried. I just get around her response- her son doesn't believe in God, so she thinks sending him to church on a weekly basis sounds like a reasonable "answer"? If she believes in God so devoutly, why didn't they go regularly before he became a heathen? And, does she think confirmation renders someone incapable of changing their position? And, does she really think that one changes their position on God in a single instant? Ridiculous.

    I find this young man pretty impressive. Even in the face of her over-the-top response and threat to take away Christmas presents, he stays resolute in his pronouncement, and he looks fairly young to have such confidence. I sincerely hope that he finds the support he needs, since his mother certainly won't provide it. Maybe he'll even stumble upon us? Fingers crossed that he does.

  4. Ben says:

    Be assured this kid (and mom) is semi-famous already… 100,000 views and counting.

  5. Ben says:

    I watched it at least 10 times, it's like crack cocaine for atheists. Also caught some good responses to it at youtube. They avoid one drawback of written blogs in that you at least get to see the facial expressions and hear the voice of the person rather than just the text (albeit similar textual content if you were to transcribe the youtube comment).

  6. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    I suggest that everyone should read the bible. as a work of literature. I am guessing that the vast majority of the Bible-Thumpers out there have never read this anthology from cover to cover, but instead rely of what the politically motivated church leader tell them.

    The musician Todd Rundgren, has a song titled "Facsist Christ" which is about the wayspoliticians and church leaders manipulate biblical references and fragments of quotes to support whatever personal agenda they are promoting.

    As an example, in the King James Concordance Version of old testament there is a passage that that uses the words, mufflers, hoods, bonnets, tyres, and "baby moons". Taken out of context, this sounds a lot like a car is being described. In fact, the passage is some old Jewish guy complaining about how the younger generation dresses.

    In most cases, someone who has read the bible as literature, will know more about it than the typical Christian.

    What I fail to understand is how so many American Christians seem to think the Jesus is God. My best recollection is that Jesus was a man and God is supposed to be an omnipotent entity. The belief doesn't really fit their mythology. It does fit the current political atmosphere of dehumanizing non Christians such as Moslems so as to rationalize the murder of non-believers as justifiable… That is a scary thought.

    But, I don't claim knowledge of any supernatural forces, and I have long since followed the idea of live and let live, that I will not force my beliefs on anyone as long as they don't force their beliefs on me.

  7. phrog says:

    Wow. I wonder if mom would have had the same reaction if the kid hadn't used the label "Atheist"? Kudos to this kid. If he can survive an overbearing mother, he's going far. My father is an Atheist but actually encouraged me to go to church, any church. He would follow up with discussions of what I took from the sermons and we'd talk. Bottom line, my father taught me HOW to think, not WHAT to think.

  8. Susie says:

    The best bet for this kid is to keep it to himself,.. escape, move far away and never return… life – the world – so big, so much out there to do, it's not worth the pain to stay aroudn peopel who don't understand you or listen, or care.

    There are other people out there he can relate to, it's just sad that most of these kids aren't allowed access to new ideas, and usualyl dont' have any network of support.

    Thank humans for the internet. (notice I didn't thank god)

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