(I spent the whole Super Bowl writing lengthy boring posts about the past 19 years of my relationship with my step dad and how crazy he is. I posted it , but then regretted it and removed it. Since this is more recent and relevant, I want to post it.)
Never in lo, these 16 years that my mom and my step dad, T, have been married, out of all the things we have argued about, never have we discussed religion, thank god. There have been several times when T has proclaimed his moral superiority over me, but we have never discussed "religion". When I modeled nude for art classes, he shamed me for shaming our family with my Bohemian ways. When I started waitressing at the strip club, he was shocked that I would work for the promotion of promiscuity. When I stripped at the strip club (OK, so yes, I had a bit of an exhibitionist phase), he told me how I broke my mother's heart. She never mentioned such heart breaking, but maybe she was just putting on a strong face for the sake of our relationship. In all these times, he always mentioned how he would continue to accept me for the sake of my mother, but he never mentioned religion.
We have often disagreed about politics and social issues. He is one of those, "I'm not racist" racists. He brags about toting guns and roughing up bad guys. I try to change the subject when these issues come up (and they usually do) because I know we disagree. I know we have different ideals about what is right and good. I always figure he is entitled to his opinions, and me to mine, and we can agree to disagree.
I'll be honest. I have been judgmental about him. I have thought he is racist, violent, selfish, arrogant, insensitive. I generally try to be loving and compassionate and fair, but it is a struggle with him.
So, anyway, I was baffled by a Christmas interaction with him. He and my mom were going to bring a ham to my house for Christmas this year. Christmas morning, my mom was not feeling well, so T called to get my opinion about whether or not she should come over. She wanted to see the family, but didn't feel like going out. She wanted to contribute the ham, but didn't want to contaminate anyone. I told them to do whatever they felt was best. Then T started telling me about some health problems he is having and how he has made peace with god. Of course, I hoped he felt better, and although I thought his proclamation about god was a little dramatic, I didn't say anything like that. Then he told me that he had heard from a former coworker of mine, that I was an atheist. He knew it couldn't possibly be true, but he wanted to ask me about it.
WTF? ? So, I said, "umm, yes, actually I am an atheist". He was clearly shocked, and said "sorry" several times and hung up.
After I got off the phone, I had the same conversation I have had with my husband many times before about why I say I am an atheist. Because I don't believe in god. My husband has this weird obsession with trying to convince atheists, that they are in fact, agnostics. (Once we were part of a weight loss team called 4 Atheists and an Agnostic. Seriously.) Anyway, for some reason, this Christmas morn, something clicked in me, and I thought, "hmmm, it is possible that I am wrong. It is possible that there is a god. I guess that makes me an agnostic." It was a Christmas morning religious conversion.
Mom and T did not call back. So shortly before dinner time, I called her number back. He answered the phone and I kid you not, was crying. He said that he and my mother had been crying since we last spoke over my lack of Christian faith. They would not be coming over. I was dumbfounded. I still am dumbfounded more than a month later. What?? Why does he care? I don't understand. Anyway, I said, "well, since we last spoke, I realized, I identify more as agnostic, if that makes you feel better." He didn't know what that meant and I explained it to him, and he said yes, it did make him feel better. And he wanted me to know, as upsetting it is to him and Mom, they DO still love me. OK.
I have just been totally baffled. He had previously never ever mentioned to me being a Christian, and I never would have guessed that he was by his behavior. Luckily he has pretty much dropped it and we just haven't discussed it anymore and I would prefer to keep it this way.
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