Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – My Sister In Law doesn’t hate me.

Well, my SIL says she doesn’t hate me (or my husband) and excuses her calling Harry Potter evil by saying she’s looking out for the kids and “you only have one chance”.  She also says that I shouldn’t lump all Christians in with the “haters”. She finds the nonsense about backmasking silly too and is “interested” in my point of view.

Unfortunately, this applies to anything a theist might want to believe in, including that Harry Potter is evil.
Unfortunately, this applies to anything a theist might want to believe in, including that Harry Potter is evil.

If you are an atheist and have theist friends or family members, this line of “reasoning” might seem familiar.I then asked her how I could know the difference between the “haters” and the True Christians and why was backmasking so silly but her claim about Harry Potter wasn’t.  It’s been about two weeks now with no answer yet.  Perhaps after the holidays, right?  🙂

Dear SIL,

I’ve heard such things from just about every other Christian and theist I’ve encountered.  I don’t put much stock in such things. Perhaps if we discuss it more I can get exactly what you mean, and not just some easy excuse. 

First, I’m glad that you don’t hate me. Makes family gatherings much easier.  But I’ve heard this “I don’t hate *you*.”  from Christians before.

This strikes me as a lot like how a lot of people (poor WASPs) where we grew up treated people of different ethnicities.  They had no problem with the person they knew, no matter the differences. But oh those “others” were certainly all bad.  That attitude is very tribal.   

I’m guessing you don’t hate me because you’ve never thought about it.  I am the tribe to you.  I went to school in the same district you did.  We lived in the same county.  You never thought I was that different than you.  It was always those “others” that didn’t agree with you and challenged your view of the world.  Now I’m the other.  So, you are faced with a conundrum – do you acknowledge that you are wrong or do you continue to believe in the lies your fellow Christians tell you, making excuses for them?  

The Christian (and many other theists) answer to such a conundrum is often that “Oh we hate the sin, not the sinner” and similarly “God hates not me” to avoid any responsibility for their opinions.  Just as it’s been dunned into us that it is impolite to call someone a liar, it’s also impolite to call someone evil.  Many Christians use the “sin/sinner” phrase as a social veil, to avoid admitting that their religion is nothing more than “evil=that which doesn’t agree with us”.  Oh, they don’t hate everyone who isn’t like them, they only hate that those poor other people have been corrupted from their “truth”. They would never hate someone because that’s bad and their god is love, love, love.  Alas for the Christian, that only works on someone who is as ignorant of the bible as they often are.  It shows that religion has no basis in reality, only in what someone’s opinion is and their need to be the “right” ones.

There is no difference between the sin and the sinner in the bible (Augustine made that up in the 5th c and Gandhi used it later). Indeed, the children of the sinner get to have that nifty ol’ sin foisted on them too! – EX 20:5, 34:7, NU 14:18, DT 5:9, IS 14:21-22, JER 32:18  (or not, DT 24:16, EZ 18:19-20  the bible/this god can’t quite make up its mind on such things. and the excuses to try to ignore these contradictions are priceless!).  The book goes into deep detail specifying who gets damned/killed for what (see Exodous, Leviticus and Deut, 1 Timothy, Romans 1, Proverbs, etc).  In none of it does it say “people will be saved no matter what they’ve done”.   That’s a very Universalist view but like so many Christian sects’ views, the support for it is very weak and has come about because decent people realize their religion is anything but the loving thing they want to believe it is.  This god hates lies *and* liars, disobedience *and* disobedient people (especially children but really anyone who doesn’t obey him will do – see the magical Flood).  Curse the “holy spirit” and you’re done in triplicate!  And if you take Romans 9 at its word, you never had a chance to begin with, if you were one of the pots that was intended to break e.g. intended to disbelieve in this god, to take its name in vain, to eat shellfish, work on the “sabbath”, etc.  Those shrimp were on your plate since the beginning of time if you believe in my former sect, those good ol’ Calvinists, the Presbyterians.  Add to this that JC stated that even thinking about something is as damnable as doing it and we see that the sinner and sin are the same. 

In that I have read Harry Potter and played D&D and skootched an Ouija planchette around (I got mine when I was around 8 years old from the “white elephant” table at the elementary school’s “May Mart”), I did something that certain Christians find evil, Christians like those authority figures who taught you what you believe if not yourself.  Romans 12 even clinches the deal, hate that which is “evil” aka anything that this religion doesn’t like. 

SIL, do you discard a book and religion that has been proven wrong again and again? Do you decide to follow it completely, not just as is convenient, and do what it says?  There is a problem with this that I’m sure you see: Would that make you one of those “haters” you brush off as being not as Christians as you since they have the bad taste to actually believe in some of the less than palatable parts of the bible? 

What it does come down to is one more interpretation of what your god really wants, another sect with a population of one.  I suppose I should be somewhat happy about this. Truly, a lot of us and our thoughtful ancestors would be dead if not for this continuous change of religion by society rather than the other way around.  What I want is to confront religion for what nonsense it spreads and hopefully, I won’t have to be “somewhat happy” that at least some theists  aren’t burning others alive. I can be completely happy when that doesn’t happen at all.

2 thoughts on “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – My Sister In Law doesn’t hate me.

  1. My sister-in-law loathes me, too. In fact, she loathes everyone in our family. I find it funny and that has of course only infuriated her even more. It didn’t help that i had sex with her beloved brothers girlfriend years and years ago. I didn’t know at the time. Found out later he was also about to propose to her. Wooops!


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