Tuesday, October 18, 2011


My mother was an unfaltering believer.  She cringed when at 12 I dared to question the veracity of the Bible.  I’m sure she privately wept when I converted to Judaism.
At some point after my marriage and my conversion, she managed to convey the fact that we wouldn’t be seeing each other in the afterlife and that was of great concern to her.  I can’t remember if she came right out and said my conversion had damned me to eternal hell or what, but that seemed to be the gist of it.
I can’t personally conceive of buying into that sort of dogma, but her church and her faith were her life.  I can’t remember how or if I responded to her beliefs about our afterlife.  I’m sure I didn’t laugh.  But did I express anger or pity or any emotion at all?
Recently seeing “A Bright New Boise” at the Woolly Mammoth has caused me to think about my parents’ beliefs and mine and how they intersected and mostly disconnected.  I’m really glad I managed to escape the Deep South without a fundamentalist view to God and religion.  I appreciate the compassion for humanity my mother passed down to me, but I much prefer my belief system (what littler there is of it) when it comes to religion.
Maybe in our next lives we will change roles.  My mother will come back as a liberal Jew and I will find Jesus and pray for the Rapture.  Who ever knows?


Blogger Kristin said...

How interesting, Barbara. I've never really thought about how my own mother might perceive our differing views and they do differ. I never really thought that she might be concerned over anyone's eternal soul, but maybe she is.

"A Bright New Boise" sounds interesting.

11:28 AM  
Blogger Steve Reed said...

I can't conceive of those sorts of belief patterns, either. Even as a kid in the South I'd be mystified if anyone said, "Well, so-and-so is going to hell." First of all, I never believed in hell and my Presbyterian church didn't dwell on that concept at all. And second, how could anyone be so sure? Where does that certainty (misguided, I think) come from? Fundamentalism seems to defy all the things that constitute life -- change and gray areas.

6:09 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kristin -- Go see the play!

Steve -- The funny thing is I too grew up in the Presbyterian Church and I never remember a lot of talk about hell or people of other religions (unless they were Baptist or Methodist). I'm not sure who convinced my mother to believe what she did. But she was adamant about it.

8:35 AM  
Blogger karen said...

After attending high school at a Catholic convent, I learned to steer clear of that sort of strict belief system. I imagine it really does work for some people though.. if only you could have a chat with your mom now, but as you say, who ever knows!!

10:15 AM  

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