Holy War, apparently

serenity_now_2007November 18, 2008

Okay, this post will come with a forewarning to any of you who have religous beliefs that actually think it's okay to openly condemn a non-believer to eternal torment. I truly doubt that this would include many (or any) of you, because my understanding is that this kind of hate speak reflects only a very fringe overzealous element in any religion. If taht includes you, though, be forewarned that you probably won't "get" what my probelm could possibly be. But thus far even the most openly religous of you have written here in a way that sounds to me balanced and reasonable enough... Allright, so here's the situation:

I get an email in my inbox this morning from my SM, who has rarely if ever sent me any email. Literally, I can probably count the total number of emails she's ever sent me on two hands, once. This was one of those "forward to many people" emails, but it actually wasn't sent to many people. Pretty much me, her mother, sister, aunt, and ---strangely--- my Dad's lawyer and his wife (the lawyer who he has basically entrusted to handle his affairs at this time of his life, terminally ill, and beyond). Most interestingly, my Dad was not included on the cc list.

In a nutshell, the email "warns" anyone who doubts or "mocks" or questions the existence of Jesus Christ that other people who have done so have died horrible "untimely" deaths. It proceeds to recount stories of John Lennon, Marilyn Monroe and various political and cultural figures who have dared utter words expressing their doubts and who have ended up dying horrible deaths. It goes on to talk about how Jesus is the only God and the only path to salvation, to avoid this fate. The wording is not even possessed of even a faux-compassionate "concern" (as in "just trying to help!"), it's all fire and brimstone and almost triumphantly laughing at the deaths of these people like "they got what they deserved".

Anyway, my SM knows very well and without any ounce of uncertainty that I am an agnostic secular Jew (agnostic by belief, Jewish by culture/heritage on my Mom's side with only marginal religious belief). By nature, agnosticism involves questioning, it basically says "I am open to the possibility of one day discovering that I believe in a God, but basically I think we can't know whether there is one or not so meanwhile I live my life according to other means of determining a moral code and finding fulfillment". It is, pretty much, a "doubting" position. I have lived by this principle for a very long time, and it's not some flavor of the month new thing that she wouldn't know about or would have any reason to think I'm changing anytime soon, especially not just to suit her or because of some hateful-sounding scare tactic. She knows that my mom's side of my family is Jewish and that Jewish belief respects Jesus as a very wise and important prophet but not interchangeable with the idea of "God" himself.

So by implication, her email pretty much condemned me to a horrible death because a) I do not consider Jesus as my God, and b) I am not even sure any sort of God exists at all. I found it hateful and I'm not sure how to handle it or how to respond.

Should I send her a similar "scare tactic" type email but just using made-up "examples" of poor suckers who didn't believe in ***Judaism*** and died horrible deaths, or who didn't watch enough Mel Brooks movies? Should I give her statistics of the many people throughout history who have died horrible deaths in the name of religion (Holy Wars, the Inquisition, etc.)? Or just cite statistics of many people who have died horrible deaths for just no reason at all? Should I simply write her back and say "Since you well know that I don't share your particular religous belief, are you basically trying to tell me that because of that I am going to die a horrible 'untimely' death? Is this some kind of veiled threat?" Should I bring my Dad into it, make him aware of the fact that she sent me something which I am 99% certain he would disapprove of and think was wrong and inappropriate?

I'm just blown away by this, her latest pathetic divisive manouever. Some people are just so freaking desperate to prove their supremacy or to drive a wedge between parent and child that they will even stoop so low as attempting to create some kind of ridiculous "Holy War" when all other tactics fail. Absolutely unbelievable!!!

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very inappropriate and ignorant of her, but it is not much you can do. like my SIl's mom announced at the dinner table that Jews mix Christian blood in Passover meal. She isn't mean person just very ignorant, so is your SM. You can't change her. delete her email and pretend you never got it. Put her email address in spam folder.

Don't bother your dad. he married stupid woman. he lives wiht her, not you.

Plenty of people think others will burn in hell because they either didn't accept particular religion or whatever else. My own dad who is intelligent and college educated think that homosexuality is mental disease. lol. People are ignorant on certain issues. Little we can do but eductae future generations so they know better. Unless you are up to a big debate just ignore it. she is stupid. you are not. let her remain stupid. If that's what kind of people are accepted to heaven, I certainly don't want to be there. hell sounds more fun. haha

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 10:58AM
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Serenity - You simply cannot 'reason' with a person who is this unreasonable. It's like trying to debate with a person who does not speak or understand your language. You two could not possibly reach any sort of agreement on this -- not even a respectful "agree to disagree" truce. So don't bother responding to her... (Unless of course, you want to thank her profusely for helping you find eternal salvation and ask for her spiritual guidance.)

You might want to show the email to your father, and express your concern about why she'd send this to you. (Maybe she's unbalanced?) Would your father interpret her email as an extremely hostile act that shows her impressions/treatment of you isn't reliable? Or would it upset your father and cause W W III?

Just tell yourself she's a nut job and her email proves it. And I'd thank my lucky stars she sent this to the lawyer and his wife who, unless they're also 'way out there' will see it for what it is -- evidence of her 'lunatic fringe' stance and hostility toward you.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 11:05AM
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Serenity...For a long time, I felt the same way you do about religion and about Christianity and I certainly see where you are coming from. I don't believe that God struck down those people for openly saying that they do not believe. That is silly since there are many biblical figures who did not originally belive and then came to believe later in life. There are also figures, such as Job, who belived and still suffered. I believe, as the new testament says, that we must accept Jesus into our lives in order to make it into heaven. I believe that Hell is actually living in eternal separation from God rather than Fire and Brimstone.

I'm not sure what your SM was trying to accomplish by sending this to you. What are the religious views of the others she sent this to? It baffles me that she would consider herself a Christian and still treat you in the manner that she treats you on a regular basis. However, given the already complicated nature of your relationship with her. I think if I were you, I would delete the email and let it go. You don't need another thing to come between you and your Dad and she will find a way to make this into her being an angel and just trying to help you to find God and you will be an awful person for taking it so personally and for being offended by it. If it makes you feel better, I got the same email from my MIL. ;-)

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 11:18AM
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When I get religious emails, I don't even read them. If there is even a hint in the title, I delete it. Religion & politics are very personal to me and I wouldn't want to end up in a 'Holy War' with anyone over either, even if I didn't like them already.

During the election, my SD would constantly ask me & DH who we are voting for and tell us how her mom likes McCain. My answer was... "that's nice" because I didn't want her going to her mom and telling her mom what my views are, which may have added to her reasons to dislike me.... okay, that's a stretch. But it was and is personal to me and that is why I avoided any political/religious threads on GW as well.

Don't read them, use the delete button.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 11:22AM
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"It baffles me that she would consider herself a Christian and still treat you in the manner that she treats you on a regular basis. "

The best way for someone who wishes to share their religious beliefs with someone else, is to live a life that embodies those beliefs. People are more drawn to your religion if they see you actually living it , day after day. Hypocrisy turns everyone off.

"However, given the already complicated nature of your relationship with her. I think if I were you, I would delete the email and let it go."

I agree. Some things are not worth bothering to respond to. This is one of them.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 11:24AM
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I really didn't read what the others' posted in response, but this woman is and has been a thorn in your side for a very long time. You need to forget about her. Whether you're justified or not, you are turning into Thurman. Everything this woman does eats and eats at you.

I've noticed from you posts, both the threads you start and your responses, that you tend to think things to death (I am someone who does this too) and sometimes you read more into issues than need be done. I don't mean this as a personal attack on you nor do I want to invalidate how you feel about your SM because she does sound like a witch, but you are really going to make yourself sick. Trust me, I know. I've done it and nobody is worth it.

This also may sound harsh, but my mom is in your dad's situation and she doesn't have much time left. Focus on what you have with him and remember when he's gone you won't have to deal with this woman anymore. LET HER GO. I wish you the best. geri

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 12:06PM
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My aunt responded in a very ugly way to my sister once. To me, it was unnecessary to respond at all. It was very hurtful and has now caused a family rift. All over an accidental sending of an e-mail. So sad!

I'm not saying that your SM sent the e-mail accidentally, but let me ask you a question. Why couldn't you just treat it as every other unwanted e-mail? For instance, when you get a spam e-mail soliciting a student loan, would you write back "Are you saying I am stupid amd should go back to school?" No....you wouldn't; you would just delete it. Because these people don't know or care about you. And in light of everything you've posted, maybe you could treat your SM's e-mails as though they are from someone who doesn't know or care about you? If you respond back, she's getting exactly what she wants and that is to aggitate you.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 12:23PM
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Don't respond. There's no point in it. She sent it for one of two reasons. #1, she actually believes it. If this is the case, you simply cannot argue with her. It's a matter of her faith and nothing you can say or do will convince her she is wrong. #2 (and if religious proselytizing is new for her, this is more likely), she is trying to piss you off, If this is the case, any response you give her will merely feed her.

My beliefs, or lack thereof, are pretty similar to yours (without the Jewish background), and while I tend to agree with you that that kind of talk is hateful, and while I have at times tried to argue my point of view with people whose views are that extreme, it has never actually accomplished anything. Given your relationship with your SM, and your dad's illness, I just don't see how it would do you anything but hurt to engage her in this.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 12:23PM
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Serenity, I feel for you. I kept getting these sorts of emails from one casual friend (her husband is good friends with my husband). She never writes me, just sends me these condemming emails "from" God. One day I finally had enough. The email was something like "Agree or Delete: And if you don't believe this, sit down and shut up". So I wrote back, detailing how ignorant the "points" were with historical evidence. At the end I said, what would Jesus say to his followers telling other people to sit down and shut up.

She never sent me another one of those again. When we saw one another next she asked if I was mad at her, and I said no, but that when I get ignorant mail like that I am compelled to respond. Issue over. I decided I'd rather burn the bridge than get another one of those letters. We're still casual friends, but I have a giant load off my chest!

With a family member it's different. I'd ignore it, as everyone already said above. But I UNDERSTAND your FRUSTRATION!!!!!!!!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 1:20PM
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As a Christian I find the email that was sent to you to be one of the most offensive and anti-Christian types of statements that can be made. My belief is that Christ does not want those who believe in him to use such scare tactics on non-believers. Christ stands for love and forgiveness and salvation. That is how we, as Christians, should present the case for Christ. The Bible does state what it states but that is not up for debate here.....the e-mail is and the intent or mindset of a person that would send it.

No wonder people are turned off about Christianity if your SM is the poster child for it. Christ says basically that as Christians we should not shove our beliefs down someones throat. We are to lovingly present the truth, as we read it in the Bible and leave it at that. Your SM has used a hateful way to convey what is suppose to be an issue that is founded in a loving heart. Unfortunately many people equate a relationship with Christ or the belief in him with these type of people.....who would want to be a party to that?????? If she truely has Christ in her heart who would want what she has? If she truly has Christ in heart she would not behave as she has. She has missed the message. She should re-read her own email.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 7:19PM
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.....the reasoning behind this email is not founded on any truth. I know of a 3 year boy who is dying of brain cancer. His family is a wonderful Christian family. He is too young to choose his own beliefs. How would she explain this? There are many Christians that die horrible deaths, suffer extreme hardships in life, are poor, abused....whatever. Just as there are plenty of non-Christians living very successful lives with good health etc. If she truely loved God she would know that Christians know that God loves everyone.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 7:28PM
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I'd use her email address to sign her up for all kinds of emails she won't appreciate receiving. Kidding. Maybe.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 8:59PM
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Lol...my husband doens't believe in any GOd...i'm orthodox soooo...either way...after reading your post. We both think she is a LOOOOOOONEY!!!! and her email just goes to show ya! chuck it inthe trash bin file. Your SM has obvious mental issues and using religion of any sorts to her own agenda is offensive to me as a Christian Orthodox. With this said, she sounds sick and dont make yourself sick thinking of it. In the end, let her be and chuck the email....howabout...blocking any mail from her all together?

    Bookmark   November 23, 2008 at 1:54PM
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