Saturday, November 29, 2008

Awkward Buddhist

Thanksgiving could have gone better, but all things considering, it wasn't bad.
The worse of it was when my step-father-in-law (take a moment to figure that one out). gave me a bunch of magazines on creationism.
That kinda irked me.
See, here in lies the problem: I'm Buddhist, and I love science. I'm not good at it, especially at chemistry. I prefer physiology, pathology, and genetics. And I will never believe that science disproves/proves God. Science really isn't about God, its about the world around us. There are good arguements saying that this was all an event of chaos, and there are good arguements saying there is force behind it all.
There is no good evidence, however, which says that the earth is 6,000 years old, and was created in 7 days. And it irks me when I see people twist statistics and use dirty methods and claim it as "science." Not just creationists do this, mind you, but thousands of other studies on hundreds of other subjects. It confuses the truth, and misleads people into doing harmful things (like Fen-Phen).

But what really killed me the most is that I couldn't say anything to him about it. My family (except my mother and father), think I'm still Christian, mostly because my mom would have a heart attack if I told them I was Buddhist.
I hate this for two reasons:
- I feel like I'm lying to them by not telling them and playing along. I have to play along, or else I'll worry them, or they'll try to reconvert me, which would be rather awkward, even though they have nothing but the best intentions.
- And I feel rather oppressed. Here is a sweet old man giving me Creationist material, which kind of offends me as student of science, and I can't tell him I don't believe in this and politely turn him away. While they walk around the house praising God and Jesus, I cannot even utter so much as a simple mantra, or talk of Buddah's wisdom, or Quan Yin's compassion. Come this December, they will celebrate not a secular Christmas, but a very religious one, and I will have to be there, uncomfortable and half-drugged to avoid anxiety. (Yet on Bodhi Day, I will be alone.) I like a lot of what Christ had to say, but the lack of a Middle Way among his some of his followers is dangerous and makes me uncomfortable.
I doubt that this would be a problem if they weren't so fervently religious. I'm comfortable as a Buddhist around my parents, because they are sure in their faith, but they keep it private. I don't feel judged if I sit down for a few moments of zazen.

So, in celebration of my personal beliefs, I share with you Buddhist-related humor, via Sinfest.









6 comments:

YogaforCynics said...

Hmmm...and I thought I had problems with my fundamentalist Christian relatives...at least they know I'm not one of them. Then, the ice was broken in the previous generation...one more reason to be thankful for mom and dad, I guess (and it sounds like yours are to-be-thankful-for as well)....

molly said...

So what is the worst that could happen if you were truthful to them? At least then you would be true to yourself which is the most important thing on your journey.

Sounds like you have alot to work with...this is the path....

Peace to you,
(And good luck with all of it at Christmas time!)
Molly

PeterAtLarge said...

You're in a bit of a bind there, and too bad. It's hard having to live with not being able to speak the truth about yourself to those closest to you. Would it be possible simply to say, gently, "Listen, I do respect your beliefs, but I have to tell you that I don't agree with them"? Without the need for discussion or argument, simply to put it out there, so that the fact is known? It must be as tough living as a closet Buddhist as a closet gay! Good luck with it, anyway...

Buddha Torrents said...

"step-father-in-law" That made my brain hurt like a Koan.

Inner Oddness said...

I wouldn't go as far as saying its as bad as being a closet gay, but religion is a very sensitive subject.
It puts me in a moral quandry. A part of me feels that i should stay silent and keep the peace, and another part wants to be able to be myself, and have others respect my beliefs.

Buddhist shop said...

I agree with molly on this , you have to be truthful.