family with morally reprehensible views

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Izawwlgood
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family with morally reprehensible views

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Nov 16, 2016 1:43 am UTC

Yup. My parents voted Trump, and not for reasons entirely based around fiscal policy. I overheard them talking this morning about how 'black protestors aren't real Americans'. The conversation went downhill from there.

I was pretty standoffish with them most of the day, but my mom gave me a ride to the airport this evening and asked if she'd done something to upset me, annnnnnnnnnd I didn't really have a good answer. I said 'I don't want to get into this but I'm having a hard time reconciling our moral differences', but the conversation quickly turned to politics and she said I was being intolerant of her views, which is basically the stale mate of disagreement.

So. Any advice for how to maintain family relationships with people who are quite frankly oppositely morally aligned to you? I don't mean 'should we spend more or less on the military' I mean 'should we shoot black people on sight and fix gay people'. Because I don't really get anything out of this relationship other than occasionally getting updates on our the aging family dog is doing. But I'm sure this is going to upset my dad, which I don't want.

Do I just grin and bear it and politely lodge my disagreement like Bartleby the fucking scrivner? Turn every family gathering into a screaming match? Plastic smiles and how awesome game of thrones is?
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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby ucim » Wed Nov 16, 2016 2:27 am UTC

How do they handle it when faced with people who are equally bigoted against their faves - that is, when they are the target? Are they able to be rational enough to see parallels? Alternatively, are they rational enough to be able to actually defend their view (i.e. that black protesters aren't real Americans)? What is a "real" American? If so, then let them explain it without contradicting them. This may give you useful information, and find out the source of their moral stance. How far are they willing to go on this? Again, without contradicting them, follow through on their stated opinions to see where they lead, and see if there's any point at which they say "no, that's too far".

Just to take an example, "fixing gay people", you might find out whether the problem is that they think gay=evil, gay=diseased, gay=broken, gay="I_wouldn't_do_that", gay="not_one_of_us"... and each of those is a different thing. Next, does evil require fixing? Does diseased require fixing?... etc, for whichever it turns out gays trigger in them.

If they are not amenable to or not able to engage in dispassionate rational discourse, or if you can't stomach the results, well, I don't have anything. And yes, I am close to a similar situation. I sympathize.

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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby elasto » Wed Nov 16, 2016 9:35 am UTC

The thing is, nothing's really changed. They've always had these views you just weren't so aware of it. They are still your parents though and they still love you as much as they ever did.

I only discovered the extent of my parents' anti-immigrant feelings when I found out they weren't just voting for Brexit but leafleting for it.

They are most likely too old to change. My advice is just to avoid the subject. No good can come of it.

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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby Wonderbolt » Wed Nov 16, 2016 9:36 am UTC

Oof, that's a rough one. I know what I'm going to say is the nuclear option, and I'm not saying this is what'll work for you, but I do know that for me personally my parents and I eventually got to a point where I simply had to cut off contact with them (in fairness there was a lot of stuff that wasn't necessarily 'just' opinions). I feel like at some point, "but they're family!" is not a valid excuse for being shitty people*, and we shouldn't feel forced to give them a free pass (or ten) just because they're related by blood.

But since you ask about how to maintain these relationships, I would say the best thing to do is to simply avoid any of these sensitive subjects entirely. Yeah, it means it'll be impossible to be as close to them as you may want, but it'll also hopefully avoid a bunch of conflict that won't help anyone (since I'm guessing this isn't one of those cases where you can just talk them out of their bigotry). So, yeah, going with the plastic smiles option. The screaming match (and to a lesser extent the polite disagreement) will just lead to everyone being mad at each other with, probably.

I'm sorry this is the situation you're in. :( Hugs and sympathies.

*EDIT: So, clarifying a bit, I mean shitty people purely in terms of how much these things affect you - some people will be able to just go whatever about parents' shitty view and have it not affect them too much, and some people won't. Depends on you, really. I'm not going to tell you that being affected by it one way or the other is right or wrong.

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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby nicklikesfire » Wed Nov 16, 2016 1:06 pm UTC

My family is (was) similar, though maybe not so extreme. I dealt with it by moving away and keeping things civil. If you find their behavior truly disgusting and you have to cut ties more completely,I would urge you to keep things on good terms. People change and it is always nice to leave a path open to reconnect.

For me, things have changed quite a bit since I moved out (more than a decade ago now), and my whole family voted for Clinton this election, which was a surprise for me.

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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby doogly » Wed Nov 16, 2016 1:14 pm UTC

I vote not tolerating their hate. Why should they expect their domestic relationships to be unaffected by their hate? Why should they expect issues of morality to be so easily swept aside? You should not have to, and they should not be allowed to, pretend that their opinions result in real and direct harm in the world. And not just harm to some "others" who they can keep at a distance, but by both direct effect and through solidarity and empathy is harming you as well. May they repent of this. Plastic smiles are fine if folks just want to sit on a sofa and nod along to fox and friends, but if they bring their shit to a ballot box, you gotta bring your shit to dinner. It's more of a "Be difficult" than "Cut ties."

At least, is my thinking. I have it easy though, as there's no one I have any interest in maintaining a relationship with that I would antagonize instead. My parents, though not at all on the same page as me for many things, knew Trump was over a line. Mom ground her teeth and checked the box for Hillary, and Dad was happy to go Stein because New York wasn't really in contention anyway, so why not shake the box a little. So we can have discussions with a little push and heat, but we're settling somewhere amiable. This is a luxury and I have not had to navigate the further case myself.
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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby elasto » Wed Nov 16, 2016 2:02 pm UTC

Wonderbolt wrote:Oof, that's a rough one. I know what I'm going to say is the nuclear option, and I'm not saying this is what'll work for you, but I do know that for me personally my parents and I eventually got to a point where I simply had to cut off contact with them (in fairness there was a lot of stuff that wasn't necessarily 'just' opinions). I feel like at some point, "but they're family!" is not a valid excuse for being shitty people*, and we shouldn't feel forced to give them a free pass (or ten) just because they're related by blood.

Assuming the OP otherwise has a good relationship with their folks, what would cutting off contact achieve? Best case scenario, the parents beg for them to reconnect and promise not to say stuff they find offensive, but genuine change? In my experience that's implausible, and certainly won't be achieved by holding a gun to their head.

Worst case scenario, they lose contact with the only parents they'll ever have, which may become a source of deep regret.

(Of course, if it's 'not just opinions' as you say is the case for you, cutting off contact may indeed be the best option for the sake of your own mental health. So there's no one-size-fits-all answer.)

(PS. Would this be better off in the 'Dear SB' subforum?)
Last edited by elasto on Wed Nov 16, 2016 2:42 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby morriswalters » Wed Nov 16, 2016 2:05 pm UTC

Only you can know how important your family connection is to you. However I don't understand how you could be raised by someone without getting a clear picture of who they are as people. They aren't a cypher. You've seen them interacting in the world. For that matter how did you turn out to be you, if they were pitchfork wielding bigots? Push away and evaluate them as people, not caricatures called parents. As Elasto says they are still the same people they always been.

As for disagreements, they don't have to end up as screaming matches. It takes two to argue. Don't be half the problem. Make your feelings known and let them know that there is nothing to discuss concerning that matter. And let it go at that. You will each have a clear picture of were you stand. But I guess if you can't find any other points of commonality that are important to you both, then walk away.

This could happen to you on a business level. And you might not always be able to walk away from people you have moral friction with. You have to find a way to communicate. You find other points of commonality.

At the end I'm still having trouble with the fact that you had no awareness of this at all. My father was a bigot. And I knew it almost as soon as I became aware of the existence of the idea of bigotry. One last caveat. The dynamic changes completely once a partner and children are involved.

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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby Zohar » Wed Nov 16, 2016 2:11 pm UTC

Have you tried defining boundaries to the conversation? Saying "These are areas where we disagree, and views like the ones you hold are actively harming people dear to me, and I don't feel like we can reach a productive discussion of these issues at the points we're in right now. I would like to avoid those, and I'm unwilling to hold conversations around these matters." Once you set those boundaries, you'll have to follow through with them. That's a pretty hard thing to do, and it's a hard conversation to have in the first place.
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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby Zamfir » Wed Nov 16, 2016 2:32 pm UTC

Another vote for "ignore the topic if you can". At least, if the relation with them is otherwise OK, and if they don't treat you or people around you badly.

It's cheesy, but I do think parents deserve some slack from us, if they did a halfway decent job of raising us. Not infinite, but more than perhaps anyone else.

And it's good to have a functioning relation with your parents, especially if you have kids or might have them in the future.

Which leaves doogly's confrontation, but for better or worse, I have never seen that accomplish anything.

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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Nov 16, 2016 3:43 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:So. Any advice for how to maintain family relationships with people who are quite frankly oppositely morally aligned to you? I don't mean 'should we spend more or less on the military' I mean 'should we shoot black people on sight and fix gay people'. Because I don't really get anything out of this relationship other than occasionally getting updates on our the aging family dog is doing. But I'm sure this is going to upset my dad, which I don't want.

Do I just grin and bear it and politely lodge my disagreement like Bartleby the fucking scrivner? Turn every family gathering into a screaming match? Plastic smiles and how awesome game of thrones is?


Well, I'm probably not the best person to help maintain said relationships. I avoid my family because they can't stop staging religious interventions and further ridiculousness. I live halfway across the country from them, and have essentially no contact with parts of my family for this reason.

So, I guess the point is, it's not just on you to be civil. It's also on them. Them having a morally reprehensible view is unfortunate, but they should at least attempt to make an effort to be nice to you, as you are to them. You don't have to agree, but not bringing it up, constantly arguing over it, etc, makes disagreements much more tolerable. It's entirely possible to accept someone as a person you care about, despite their flaws, but it's gotta go both directions, IMO.

It's entirely okay to care about people with different values than you. However, if they insist on forcing their values on you endlessly, despite you talking with them about it, cutting off contact may make your life easier. At the end of the day, don't cut ties because of different beliefs. Cut ties because of how they treat you. Or don't, if they are willing to be reasonable despite differences.

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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Nov 16, 2016 4:04 pm UTC

Tyn, wait, your family invites you down and they are all sitting in a circle trying to "save" you from the devil's atheism or something?


Anyway, I think I'm also the only one in my close family that didn't vote Trump. EDIT: Other stuff irrelevant

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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Nov 16, 2016 6:33 pm UTC

The path that I think resonates best with my position is to call them on the bigotry and minimize contact and exchanges to ensure a bare minimum of civility. I feel pretty abandoned by my family though, and given some of the conflicts I've had with my parents in the past few years regarding my choices to not be religious, I find the relationship to be not a particularly positive one. I am especially frustrated that the onus to apologize for disagreement seemed to have fallen to me, though, this argument happened late last night, so, it's possible (but unlikely) that a follow up conversation will go better.

I'm not particularly hopeful of that, and am pretty upset.

Zohar wrote:Have you tried defining boundaries to the conversation?
My mom is WAY more guilty of this than my dad, but no joke, for 8 years I've repeatedly asked her to stop poking me about politics, to minimal effect. In probably the last year or so she's held off on things, only sending me... I think 3? 4? emails regarding this stuff, and making maybe 1-2 comments at each visit (I've seen her... 7? times this calendar year). My dad tends to only focus on the economic side of politics, of which I am actually quite a bit more sympathetic to differing opinions. So, part of the issue is that my mom is terrible at listening to said boundaries, no matter how firmly I try and set them. This has also, fwiw, caused a fair amount of stress to my wife, who wants very badly to have a good relationship with my mother, but finds conversation with her to frequently be stressful and requiring a fair amount of 'smiling and changing the topic'.

As for maintaining that boundary - for the past few years I've had a fairly easy time simply replying with "I don't want to talk to you about this and have repeatedly asked you not to bring it up with me". However, some of the stuff I overheard yesterday morning was more egregious than the typical fare. It's deeply annoying to me to be constantly told that climate change is a liberal conspiracy and that The Affordable Care Act is a crooked policy that bankrupt our country - all of my flags go off when they talk about registering Muslims and closing our borders to refugees and deporting Mexicans and shooting black people to remind them all 'what America stands for'. I feel like the line for what I can accept regarding different views has been long since overstepped with them, and now we're firmly beyond 'political disagreement' territory.

morriswalters wrote: However I don't understand how you could be raised by someone without getting a clear picture of who they are as people. They aren't a cypher. You've seen them interacting in the world. For that matter how did you turn out to be you, if they were pitchfork wielding bigots? Push away and evaluate them as people, not caricatures called parents. As Elasto says they are still the same people they always been.
This behavior in my father is 100% new to me. This behavior is my mother is simply more extreme than where I thought she fell. I knew she had read Breitbart, but I figured as it became more anti-semetic and white nationalistic that she'd have drifted away from it, but I was clearly extremely wrong. My mom had a pretty strong flip in her values around 2008 (yup), and just got further and further extreme, so, really, all of this is fairly new to me insofar as 'why didn't I see it coming?'. My mothers conservatism has only really been a thing for the past 8 years, and before yesterday morning, I don't think I'd seen my father expressed an iota of bigotry, sans pretty extreme pro-Israel views which I find to be contextually bit more complicated to tease apart.

morriswalters wrote:As for disagreements, they don't have to end up as screaming matches. It takes two to argue.
I did not handle the conversation with my mother as rationally as I would have liked. She has a habit in discussion for getting loud and aggressive, and then playing the victim, and I tried to call her on it a few times she was doing it, which just made matters worse.

ucim wrote:How do they handle it when faced with people who are equally bigoted against their faves - that is, when they are the target?
Doublethink, frankly. Anti-semetism is just isolated incidents and unrelated to all of this. The Alt Right has nothing to do with anti-semetism, indeed, Trump has strong ties to Orthodox Jews, blah blah blah.
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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Nov 16, 2016 6:40 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Tyn, wait, your family invites you down and they are all sitting in a circle trying to "save" you from the devil's atheism or something?


More or less. That's putting it lightly. Last time I had them over, in addition to the staged intervention attempt, they hid various "you're going to hell" messages throughout the entire house. One of them, stuffed into a grill, nearly started a fire, as I didn't think someone would stuff paper into heating elements....because why would you do that?

We don't get on well.

That said, Izawl's family ain't mine. If they're more willing to put that stuff to the side, and not create conflict constantly, it's rather easier to get along. The last post however...yeah, that's an issue. At a minimum, a break might be good. Perhaps next time an opportunity arises, simply state that there's been a fair degree of conflict of late, and it might be best if there was some time spent apart. You need not make long term decisions to simply step back and see how things are when you spend less time together.
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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby commodorejohn » Wed Nov 16, 2016 6:44 pm UTC

No direct advice here, just...be careful. It's easy to let yourself get all fired up and decide that you want to sacrifice family relationships for the sake of ideology, but that's a fine way to wind up saying and doing things you're going to regret later, the damage from which may not be easy to reverse. You've only got the one family - take care with it.
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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Nov 16, 2016 6:49 pm UTC

Just be sure that your family know that you are always open for communication.

I'm not necessarily saying that you have to agree with them, but be sure to invite them over regularly or go over there regularly, that you talk on social gatherings and so forth. IMO, family is always more important than politics, but it can be frustrating when it feels like you're the one compromising your morals to fit with your parents. If it helps, you can invite your parents over to your place to capture the "home playing field" advantage so to speak.

If you go to their house however, its basically their home their rules. So I say put up with it if you were invited. Next time you are invited, remind her that you didn't like how the last visit went because too much politics was brought up.

all of my flags go off when they talk about registering Muslims and closing our borders to refugees and deporting Mexicans and shooting black people to remind them all 'what America stands for'


Do you know of any Muslims, Mexicans / Hispanics / Latinos, or African Americans that are in your shared social circles? If you don't, then the simple fact of the matter is, it doesn't affect you or her, aside from perceptions. Kind of a rough way to put it, but its the truth.

If you do know minorities that are in the social circles you share, you can gently remind her of them. You'll likely learn that there's a cognitive dissonance between "THOSE" black people and the African Americans (or any other minority group) she knows. (Ex: What about Daniel? He seems like such a nice guy and it would be a shame if he was hurt)

Its annoying to see the cognitive dissonance (especially when your mother will be unable to see it), but trust in it. Your mother is likely still a decent person and will treat Muslims / Hispanics / Latinos / African Americans she knows personally with respect.

----------

If you want to actually discuss politics (maybe it hurts too much to just ignore the issues. And yes, I can understand this stance)... you need to do it correctly. An important tidbit is that your mother has a particular viewpoint on liberals. Whatever you do, you must work to not use the language of the mainstream media, brainwashing liberal. Otherwise, she will immediately lump you into that category and will have difficulty seeing your viewpoints as legitimate.

Learn to talk like a conservative. Use sources that she trusts. Be biblical, connect through Religion. Say what Jesus said. Etc. etc.

Next time she talks about Muslims being evil or whatever, note that the Three Magi were Zoroastranists (not only gentiles, but hethans who believed in other gods). Indeed, it was the Zoroastranists who looked to the sky for clues who found the Star of David in the Christmas Story. So we should not look down upon other religions. (Note that the term "Magi" describes people who were Zoroastranist. Just as "Jew" describes a Hewbrew)

Another great religious example was the parable of the Good Samaritan. The Samaritan was a gentile, non-Jewish, and the Rabbi was too wrapped up in Tradition to help the hurt person on the side of the road. Indeed, the very point of the story is that it sometimes takes an outsider to do good in this world.

Jesus has plenty of pro-inclusion and anti-hate parables through his scriptures. And if your mother is religious, then she'll probably respond well to a good, well reasoned religious argument.
Last edited by KnightExemplar on Wed Nov 16, 2016 7:14 pm UTC, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby Whizbang » Wed Nov 16, 2016 7:06 pm UTC

Passive Aggressiveness is usually frowned upon in today's culture, but it is a thing for a reason. It lets you express your disapproval of a thing or set of things without direct confrontation. Try to keep the communication to day-to-day stuff, and then Like and comment a bunch of stuff on Facebook or other shared social media that indicates your moral stance. Will there be tension? Yes. Could perhaps an Internet fight be sparked? Very likely. But the nice thing about the Internet is that no one is tied down. If you get caught in a fight in person, you can't always just ignore the person or walk away. Or even if you could, it sends a much stronger message to the other party than just ignoring a post online. On the Internet you get to choose which battles you fight (for the most part).

There is an added benefit of prolonged exposure to an idea changes it from alien and dangerous to commonplace, which might lead to acceptance. Just the fact that you do not hide your differing opinions will subtly influence them in the long term, especially if that opinion is expressed and shared openly by others. That is how the LGBTQ movement worked/is working, by people outing themselves until bigots had a hard time swinging their bigotry-stick around without hurting close friends and relatives. Likewise Progressive-ism needs to be open and abundant to change people's minds.

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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Nov 16, 2016 7:17 pm UTC

Another note:

When entering discussions with people with severely different moral views than yourself, you have to keep in mind "The Matrix". You have two tools at hand:

1. The Blue Pill
2. The Misogyny Kool-Aid


The Misogyny Kool-Aid only works if the other person is willing to accept The Misogyny Kool-Aid. If they fundamentally don't want to change their viewpoints, you have to argue using the Blue Pill... and only using the blue pill.

Don't force the other side to eat The Misogyny Kool-Aid. It never works out.
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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby Wonderbolt » Wed Nov 16, 2016 7:30 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
Wonderbolt wrote:Oof, that's a rough one. I know what I'm going to say is the nuclear option, and I'm not saying this is what'll work for you, but I do know that for me personally my parents and I eventually got to a point where I simply had to cut off contact with them (in fairness there was a lot of stuff that wasn't necessarily 'just' opinions). I feel like at some point, "but they're family!" is not a valid excuse for being shitty people*, and we shouldn't feel forced to give them a free pass (or ten) just because they're related by blood.

Assuming the OP otherwise has a good relationship with their folks, what would cutting off contact achieve? Best case scenario, the parents beg for them to reconnect and promise not to say stuff they find offensive, but genuine change? In my experience that's implausible, and certainly won't be achieved by holding a gun to their head.

Worst case scenario, they lose contact with the only parents they'll ever have, which may become a source of deep regret.

(Of course, if it's 'not just opinions' as you say is the case for you, cutting off contact may indeed be the best option for the sake of your own mental health. So there's no one-size-fits-all answer.)

Exactly my point. I would not suggest cutting off contact to try to manipulate people into changing their opinions, but suggest it more in the sense of "if a situation is affecting you significantly mentally, you are allowed to avoid that situation even if those people are your family because fuck 'em really."

Because of the worst case scenario you mention, it's obviosuly not a thing that should be taken lightly.

Izawwlgood wrote:As for maintaining that boundary - for the past few years I've had a fairly easy time simply replying with "I don't want to talk to you about this and have repeatedly asked you not to bring it up with me". However, some of the stuff I overheard yesterday morning was more egregious than the typical fare. It's deeply annoying to me to be constantly told that climate change is a liberal conspiracy and that The Affordable Care Act is a crooked policy that bankrupt our country - all of my flags go off when they talk about registering Muslims and closing our borders to refugees and deporting Mexicans and shooting black people to remind them all 'what America stands for'. I feel like the line for what I can accept regarding different views has been long since overstepped with them, and now we're firmly beyond 'political disagreement' territory.

This may or may not work for you, but it may be worth it to try re-establishing those boundaries a little more firmly if you want to keep talking to your parents. You can quite simply state that you don't want to hear your mom talk about her political views and that hearing those views is making it very hard for you to keep up the relationship. Basically, let them know what is at stake here. It's a bit of a gamble, because on the one hand it can make her realize she shouldn't push it (I mean, we're already discussing here whether breaking off that relationship is a good idea, so it's not an idle manipulative threat, it's an actual "these are the ground rules to have a relationship with me" thing), but on the other hand it can easily be interpreted as trying to be controlling, "being intolerant of their views" as you mentioned, etc. For keeping up the relationship, it's probably more important to phrase it along the lines of "this politics talk makes me really uncomfortable" and less "you are evil for thinking this", as much as that can feel like cutting people too much slack.

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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Nov 16, 2016 7:38 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:More or less. That's putting it lightly. Last time I had them over, in addition to the staged intervention attempt, they hid various "you're going to hell" messages throughout the entire house. One of them, stuffed into a grill, nearly started a fire, as I didn't think someone would stuff paper into heating elements....because why would you do that?
Heh, holy shit. Your situation seems more extreme than mine, but I can relate in some capacity - I get Torah portions sent to me on the regular, and any visit typically involves Shabbas dinner. I ignore the Torah spam, and just quietly wait out the prayers over shabbas. When we were planning our wedding, my dad said he didn't understand how I could have morals if I didn't have religion, and that a wedding without a rabbi wasn't a real wedding.

Tyndmyr wrote:At a minimum, a break might be good. Perhaps next time an opportunity arises, simply state that there's been a fair degree of conflict of late, and it might be best if there was some time spent apart. You need not make long term decisions to simply step back and see how things are when you spend less time together.
My inclination is to see how Thanksgiving goes, and base decisions around that.

KnightExemplar wrote:If you go to their house however, its basically their home their rules. So I say put up with it if you were invited. Next time you are invited, remind her that you didn't like how the last visit went because too much politics was brought up.
We live in separate states. When I go home, I stay with them, and they visit us maybe twice a year. When they do, they stay at hotels.

KnightExemplar wrote:Do you know of any Muslims, Mexicans / Hispanics / Latinos, or African Americans that are in your shared social circles? If you don't, then the simple fact of the matter is, it doesn't affect you or her, aside from perceptions. Kind of a rough way to put it, but its the truth.
They know of my friends, but no, their social circle does not have a lot of minorities. I directly brought up how unsafe some of my friends felt, and even mentioned that I officiated a gay friends wedding not because it was a for funsy gimmick, but because I believe very strongly in marriage equality. Like I said, any mention of anti-semetism that has popped up as a function of this election cycle is brushed aside with being 'unrelated to Trump'.

Whizbang wrote:There is an added benefit of prolonged exposure to an idea changes it from alien and dangerous to commonplace, which might lead to acceptance. Just the fact that you do not hide your differing opinions will subtly influence them in the long term, especially if that opinion is expressed and shared openly by others. That is how the LGBTQ movement worked/is working, by people outing themselves until bigots had a hard time swinging their bigotry-stick around without hurting close friends and relatives. Likewise Progressive-ism needs to be open and abundant to change people's minds.
Yeah, this. I feel like given what they think, it's important to not less this matter slide.

I'm sad that my parents (dad included now, I guess) are not the moral rolemodels I wanted them to be.

KnightExemplar wrote:... and only using the blue pill.
I definitely am not going to go along with their views.

KnightExemplar wrote:Just be sure that your family know that you are always open for communication.
I respond almost immediately to non-political emails. We talk about media we're enjoying all the time, and whenever a family announcement or whatnot goes around I respond
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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Nov 16, 2016 7:41 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:... and only using the blue pill.
I definitely am not going to go along with their views.


You don't necessarily have to agree with them to create an argument from their perspective.

KnightExemplar wrote:Just be sure that your family know that you are always open for communication.
I respond almost immediately to non-political emails. We talk about media we're enjoying all the time, and whenever a family announcement or whatnot goes around I respond


Then no matter your decisions on this particular issue then, you'll be fine, and your relationship with your parents will persevere. I think you can march forward with confidence.
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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Nov 16, 2016 8:23 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:The path that I think resonates best with my position is to call them on the bigotry and minimize contact and exchanges to ensure a bare minimum of civility. I feel pretty abandoned by my family though, and given some of the conflicts I've had with my parents in the past few years regarding my choices to not be religious, I find the relationship to be not a particularly positive one. I am especially frustrated that the onus to apologize for disagreement seemed to have fallen to me, though, this argument happened late last night, so, it's possible (but unlikely) that a follow up conversation will go better.


I think it's important to understand that it's very unlikely that you will ever change your parents' views on any of these matters. Not in a single conversation, certainly, probably not ever. Especially not when you are a periodic visitor a few times per year, whereas they are probably immersed in a culture that believes these things for the majority of their time. So whatever option you want to take needs to be looked at through that lens.

You might want to try talking things out a bit with your father, absent your mother. You could ask him about the sudden change in his views, on the one hand, but it may be more valuable to express your frustration with the circumstances--that you love them and want to see them, but feel that recently your visits have left you and your family feeling stressed and upset because of their politics. Ask him for solutions.

We live in separate states. When I go home, I stay with them, and they visit us maybe twice a year. When they do, they stay at hotels.


Can you afford to stay in a hotel when you come to visit? Would that be an option?

When we were planning our wedding, my dad said he didn't understand how I could have morals if I didn't have religion, and that a wedding without a rabbi wasn't a real wedding.


This is such an odd comment coming from a parent. "Well, you and Mom taught me morals."

Tyndmyr wrote:More or less. That's putting it lightly. Last time I had them over, in addition to the staged intervention attempt, they hid various "you're going to hell" messages throughout the entire house. One of them, stuffed into a grill, nearly started a fire, as I didn't think someone would stuff paper into heating elements....because why would you do that?


:shock:

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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Nov 16, 2016 8:51 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:I think it's important to understand that it's very unlikely that you will ever change your parents' views on any of these matters. Not in a single conversation, certainly, probably not ever. Especially not when you are a periodic visitor a few times per year, whereas they are probably immersed in a culture that believes these things for the majority of their time. So whatever option you want to take needs to be looked at through that lens.


Yeah, this is important, I think. Changing them...probably not on the table. Trying to get some respect for you, and a more pleasant experience, though...that's entirely reasonable. Try to frame things in that light.

Not that this always works or anything, but hey, worth a shot, right? A peaceful thanksgiving can be nice, though.

The "can't have morals without religion" seems to be a strangely common viewpoint. I don't really know how to address it. Like, societies that aren't particularly religious exist. They don't immediately become some sort of dystopian deathmatch. I'm not sure why the idea's so pervasive when it seems so easy to observe evidence counter to it.

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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Nov 16, 2016 8:57 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:I think it's important to understand that it's very unlikely that you will ever change your parents' views on any of these matters.
I absolutely understand this, which is upsetting to me because A ) my mother has spent the last 8 years trying to change my mind, and B ) my parents are bigots.

LaserGuy wrote:whereas they are probably immersed in a culture that believes these things for the majority of their time
Actually, I think one of the things fueling their views is that their community is NOT bent like this. The synagogue they belong to, despite being Orthodox, seems to have been fairly outspoken against Trump. The majority of their friends seem to be in a similar camp, and one of the things I overheard is them talking about how they can't talk politics with any of their peers. I think a sense of victimization is fueling this, which is... the mind reels. But my mom has definitely painted herself as the victim for a long time now.

LaserGuy wrote:You might want to try talking things out a bit with your father, absent your mother. You could ask him about the sudden change in his views, on the one hand, but it may be more valuable to express your frustration with the circumstances--that you love them and want to see them, but feel that recently your visits have left you and your family feeling stressed and upset because of their politics. Ask him for solutions.
I think this is very good advice, and think this will probably/possibly have a positive outcome.

LaserGuy wrote:Can you afford to stay in a hotel when you come to visit? Would that be an option?
There are friends we can stay with, but I think that would cause a fair amount of grumbling with my parents. I could pretend it was due to space constraints, as when my sister, brother-in-law, nephew, and my brother all visit at the same time, it gets pretty tight in my parents house.

Tyndmyr wrote:The "can't have morals without religion" seems to be a strangely common viewpoint. I don't really know how to address it. Like, societies that aren't particularly religious exist. They don't immediately become some sort of dystopian deathmatch. I'm not sure why the idea's so pervasive when it seems so easy to observe evidence counter to it.
I think a part of this is the media they consume.

LaserGuy wrote:This is such an odd comment coming from a parent. "Well, you and Mom taught me morals."
Yeah, I pushed back pretty hard on that comment, and my dad recanted and apologized for misspeaking.

What's very bizarre to me is how selfish my parents 'morals' seem to have become. They've really hammered home this idea of values, that you should aim for education, to support your family, and support Jews, so it's easy to see at least how the latter two still fit within their views. But I don't understand how someone who cares about the experiences of Jews can also turn their back on immigrants, particularly refugees, and I don't understand how two people who have made Holocaust remembrance such a key part of who they are can be indifferent to Trump's rhetoric.

It's been a long decline, but yesterday really shook my perception of my parents, and I'm angry about this.
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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby morriswalters » Wed Nov 16, 2016 9:07 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:I did not handle the conversation with my mother as rationally as I would have liked. She has a habit in discussion for getting loud and aggressive, and then playing the victim, and I tried to call her on it a few times she was doing it, which just made matters worse.
Not arguing means exactly that.

Izawwlgood wrote: When we were planning our wedding, my dad said he didn't understand how I could have morals if I didn't have religion, and that a wedding without a rabbi wasn't a real wedding.
Has nothing to do with what you are asking about. If he is a practicing Jew I would expect as much.
Izawwlgood wrote:My inclination is to see how Thanksgiving goes, and base decisions around that.
The more I read the more I get the impression that you've made a decision and that you are looking for justifications. It's easy enough to do the thing. I did it. I saw my father twice in ten years after the death of my mother and never knew he was dying until my sister told me he had passed. But if you go to that dinner without making the players aware of the stakes you are,IMO, setting up to fail. If, the idea is to attempt to find common ground that you can both live with. Lay the groundwork. Have those conversations prior to that dinner.

I think I have nothing more to offer. Good Luck.

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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Nov 16, 2016 9:12 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:The more I read the more I get the impression that you've made a decision and that you are looking for justifications.
A little, but I'm also upset about this and wanted feedback. I hadn't considered tackling this issue differently for each parent, truthfully. Not with respect to changing minds, but with respect to what we can discuss and how we can discuss it.

morriswalters wrote: I saw my father twice in ten years after the death of my mother and never knew he was dying until my sister told me he had passed
That does not sound ideal, at all, and something like that had not occurred to me as a possibility until lastnight.
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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Nov 16, 2016 9:16 pm UTC

For context one of the reasons I posted is that you guys are A ) mostly pretty much emotionally mature individuals whose opinions and guidance I've watched and respected over the nearly 10 years I've been posting here, and B ) you all don't have any biases with respect to the players involved other than, I presume, my happiness and sense of well-being.

My wife has provided excellent advice on this matter, but mostly wants to see conflict avoided and things progress smoothly.
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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby ucim » Wed Nov 16, 2016 9:39 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:When we were planning our wedding, my dad said he didn't understand how I could have morals if I didn't have religion...
That's it right there.

He didn't understand.

Would he like to? If so, that's your opening for what might be a very enlightening and bonding conversation. If not, well, now you know that his attitudes are derived from this, and you can stop stressing about what those attitudes actually are, because they are symptoms, not the actual ailment.

But then, you can say and do little things that may help him understand, little by little, how you could have morals without religion.

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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Nov 16, 2016 11:32 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:When we were planning our wedding, my dad said he didn't understand how I could have morals if I didn't have religion...


On that issue, go for the Reverse Pascal's Wager*. Someone acting in a moral manner because of a religion isn't fooling their God. Acting the same without a presumption of a God overseeing them is therefore clearly superior to the God-fearing adherent, and if it turns out that there is a God then surely it'll earn extra credit.

* The regular one being fallacious.

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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Nov 16, 2016 11:45 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:When we were planning our wedding, my dad said he didn't understand how I could have morals if I didn't have religion...


On that issue, go for the Reverse Pascal's Wager*. Someone acting in a moral manner because of a religion isn't fooling their God. Acting the same without a presumption of a God overseeing them is therefore clearly superior to the God-fearing adherent, and if it turns out that there is a God then surely it'll earn extra credit.

* The regular one being fallacious.


In my experience, trying to explain something using methods and stories doesn't work unless the other people are willing to listen.

Going back to my "Matrix" example, you're basically saying shove a red-pill down their throat. That's simply not going to work, and is instead only going to lead to a more frosty relationship.

In essence, the vast majority of stories we tell each other are "preaching to the choir". If you're speaking to someone who is religious, you have to use religious arguments to effectively communicate with them. If you bring up an "Atheist" concept like the Reverse Pascal Wager, they more or less just turn off their mind and stop listening to you.

Talking about the Reverse Pascal Wager to a religious person will be as effective as preaching Jesus's Parables to an atheist (or... like I did in this topic: to Jewish folk. Lol. That's what I get for assuming people's religion... I think I only assumed that a religious Christian could vote for Trump. It never occurred to me that conservative Jewish people could be Trump supporters). It just doesn't work. You have to translate the argument into stories and language that the other person trusts.

I don't know much about the Jewish faith however, so I have absolutely no advice from that perspective.
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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Nov 17, 2016 12:44 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
More or less. That's putting it lightly. Last time I had them over, in addition to the staged intervention attempt, they hid various "you're going to hell" messages throughout the entire house. One of them, stuffed into a grill, nearly started a fire, as I didn't think someone would stuff paper into heating elements....because why would you do that?


Heh, holy shit. Your situation seems more extreme than mine, but I can relate in some capacity - I get Torah portions sent to me on the regular, and any visit typically involves Shabbas dinner. I ignore the Torah spam, and just quietly wait out the prayers over shabbas. When we were planning our wedding, my dad said he didn't understand how I could have morals if I didn't have religion, and that a wedding without a rabbi wasn't a real wedding.


Just going back to this, what do your parents think about secular Judaism? Is their problem that you can't have morals without religious practices, or you can't have morals without God?

Likewise, on the issue of racism, do they have similar feelings toward, say, the Ethiopian Jewish community?

Soupspoon wrote:On that issue, go for the Reverse Pascal's Wager*. Someone acting in a moral manner because of a religion isn't fooling their God. Acting the same without a presumption of a God overseeing them is therefore clearly superior to the God-fearing adherent, and if it turns out that there is a God then surely it'll earn extra credit.

* The regular one being fallacious.


Your approach is way too abstract. This is a personal attack on the irreligious person's character, and should be treated as such.

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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby KnightExemplar » Thu Nov 17, 2016 1:34 am UTC

LaserGuy wrote:Your approach is way too abstract. This is a personal attack on the irreligious person's character, and should be treated as such.


I disagree.

A lot of religious folk draw their morals from the Bible directly, or whatever good book they read. They literally don't understand how morals can work without a God.

They don't mean it in terms of a character attack, its just a frank statement. They simply do not understand the point of view of morals without Religion. They are one-and-the-same to a deeply religious individual.

-----------

As a side note:

Spoiler:
I have a very difficult time describing the effect the concept of "Morality IS Religion" to atheists. It affects me most when I'm DMing Pathfinder games... there's a mechanic where literally "good" does X while "evil" does Y. Spells in the game like Detect Evil where you can run around and scan people's "goodness" or "evilness".

And a lot of people simply don't "get" it or the concept at all. Even if this is just a game, it takes some stretching of the mind for some people to play the game "correctly". Lawful Good beings (like Angels) are literally made out of goodness and come from the plane of law and good. While Devils are lawful evil, and are literally made out of evil... coming from the plane of law and evil.
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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby Weeks » Thu Nov 17, 2016 2:44 am UTC

Your relationship doesn't seem fragmented enough to devolve into constant verbal slapfights. I think you'll be alright, and I hope you can keep being as patient as you are, if you think they can be patient with you too. As Zamfir said, one kind of owes some slack to the people who raised us. Just a little, though. You don't have to be a saint. It really depends on how much you love them.
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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Nov 17, 2016 2:48 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:Your approach is way too abstract. This is a personal attack on the irreligious person's character, and should be treated as such.


I disagree.

A lot of religious folk draw their morals from the Bible directly, or whatever good book they read. They literally don't understand how morals can work without a God.

They don't mean it in terms of a character attack, its just a frank statement. They simply do not understand the point of view of morals without Religion. They are one-and-the-same to a deeply religious individual.


If you are forced to interact with such people, ask them if social animals are capable of cooperating with each other. Bees, ants, wolves, any social animal will do. If wolves "know" not to murder wolves in the same pack, or bees feed other members of the same hive that are not their own children, clearly they have 'morals'. And since wolf-Jesus isn't a thing, clearly religion is not a prerequisite for, at the very least, a rudimentary form of morality.

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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby KnightExemplar » Thu Nov 17, 2016 2:49 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:Your approach is way too abstract. This is a personal attack on the irreligious person's character, and should be treated as such.


I disagree.

A lot of religious folk draw their morals from the Bible directly, or whatever good book they read. They literally don't understand how morals can work without a God.

They don't mean it in terms of a character attack, its just a frank statement. They simply do not understand the point of view of morals without Religion. They are one-and-the-same to a deeply religious individual.


If you are forced to interact with such people, ask them if social animals are capable of cooperating with each other. Bees, ants, wolves, any social animal will do. If wolves "know" not to murder wolves in the same pack, or bees feed other members of the same hive that are not their own children, clearly they have 'morals'. And since wolf-Jesus isn't a thing, clearly religion is not a prerequisite for, at the very least, a rudimentary form of morality.


Been there, done that. Animals don't have souls and therefore don't have morality. It helps explain the gay penis fencing from Bonobos or gay dogs humping each other (which is immoral in their view of course, but its not a problem for animals to behave like that)

EDIT: For a less insensitive wording: (I probably shouldn't bring up casual homophobia like that...), a better example would be the many animals who eat their children or kill each other. Ex: Wolves do kill other wolves. Morality isn't about cooperation, its about God's judgement upon your soul.

You basically are only going to convince someone through that argument if they're a naturalist. And if your religious conservative parents are like some that I know... they're gun owning hunters who don't think that Animals have souls and are very knowledgeable of the animal kingdom as well. I don't think that's a winning argument. Naturalism doesn't correlate too well with conservative religious values in my experience.
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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Nov 17, 2016 2:56 am UTC

How come civilizations managed to exist and societies managed to have laws and rules prior to Jesus? After all, there WAS a Rome that managed to keep from tearing itself apart until long after the Pope showed up.

Then again, denialism is a strong thing.

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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Nov 17, 2016 5:52 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:Your approach is way too abstract. This is a personal attack on the irreligious person's character, and should be treated as such.


I disagree.

A lot of religious folk draw their morals from the Bible directly, or whatever good book they read. They literally don't understand how morals can work without a God.


Well, they get their morality from their culture just like everyone else. Many of them think they get their morality from the Bible, but they don't.

They don't mean it in terms of a character attack, its just a frank statement. They simply do not understand the point of view of morals without Religion. They are one-and-the-same to a deeply religious individual.


Oh, I understand that they don't mean it as a character attack. That's precisely why you need to present it in such a manner. It's much easier to convince them that morality must exist, somehow, for atheists, and let them to work out the theology on their own.

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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby Angua » Thu Nov 17, 2016 8:52 am UTC

Can we keep the hypothetical discussion about what is and isn't morality for theists/atheists out of a Dear SB thread, please. Unless Izawwlgood says they specifically want to discuss it.

Oops. Carry on.
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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Nov 17, 2016 9:00 am UTC

Angua wrote:Can we keep the hypothetical discussion about what is and isn't morality for theists/atheists out of a Dear SB thread, please. Unless Izawwlgood says they specifically want to discuss it.


This isn't Dear SB.

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Re: family with morally reprehensible views

Postby Angua » Thu Nov 17, 2016 9:07 am UTC

Oops.

Carry on.
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