When he was growing up, I tried my best to corrupt him, but apparently it didn't do any good. ;) I feel his going to Liberty University will turn him into my enemy.
I'm enormously disappointed in my teabagging, fundamentalist family. They must feel the same way about me, but the difference is I'm alone. I held out some hope that my nephew, the youngest member of the family, would be different, but it looks like he'll be just another right-wing fundy.
I'm devastated and I have to admit it's kept me from keeping in close contact with him. I still love him, but now that he's grown I'm going to have to put some distance between us: the same distance I keep between myself and the rest of the family.
I'm incredibly lonely and it doesn't look like that will ever change.
I don't know anything about Liberty University, but some people actually see the flaws in religion once thay get more involved into it. If your nephew is currently just going along with the Christian thing without thinking about it much, this might force his religion in the spotlight, allowing him to see its flaws.
...or he could turn into an evangelical bible-thumper. One of the two.
Regina, you make several good points. I, too, was raised in a jesus filled, church-going home, and I bought into it for a while. How can you not be when you are brainwashed from the first moment you can talk?
My only hesitation is that talking about religion too soon could cause some hostility. My experience was that I was not at all ready to have that discussion (as in, be questioned about why I believed what I believed) until a bit after college (when I was 22). Up until that point, I would have ignorantly spouted out all the hooey that I had been spoon-fed. It took me being away from my family and more independent. Of course, now that I am 42 and a big old atheist, I lament that I never got a chance to talk to my dear atheist grandmother about our shared atheism. It was a topic that was not allowed by my parents, and she died when I was 15:(
Some break free, but most don't when they are that brainwashed.
The distance between my nephew and me isn't entirely my doing. He's been distant as well and now that he's planning on attending Liberty University, I can guess why. It goes both ways, as I found out with my mother.
The only time I ever talked with him about anything controversial is when he said Barack Obama was a Muslim. I sent him to Snopes and he said Snopes was biased. So I threw my hands into the air and said to myself, "Fine. It's his life."
And so I shut up. And I'll probably continue to shut up.
The problem is fundies don't recognize or understand boundaries and you have to particularly stringent when establishing them. That's one of the reasons for the distance.
Okay, so it sounds like he's already partly brainwashed, but he cares about bias. That's a start.
The best advice I can give you is to talk to him about how he knows which sources of information are biased. Don't try to convince him that one is or isn't, because then he'll just think you're on their side. Instead, just focus on critical thinking. Does he think this university is biased? Regardless of what answer he gives, ask him his reasoning for his answer. Don't tell him he's wrong, just get him thinking for himself.
I don't want to cut off all contact with him and I won't, but my religious family doesn't understand boundaries. Actually, I should say my religious mother didn't / doesn't understand boundaries. I went through hell trying to get her to lay off. At one point she tried to have me committed to a mental institution because she thought I was demon-possessed.
Yes, there are nuts in my family. I was one of them, just as batshit insane as my mother was (is?). She seems to have calmed down at least a little. If he's anything like I was, my nephew is going to go through one hell of an ultra-religious phase. I don't want it pointed at me. Considering his youth, it should be easier to establish boundaries than it was with my mother. I hope.
Also, my nephew absolutely will not talk about personal matters. I tried to get him to when he was younger, but he buttoned up. There was a really bad divorce and neither parent was really there for him. His mother has a nice cadre of psychological problems, including histrionic and narcissistic personality disorders. These were diagnosed by a psychologist, but I guessed correctly ahead of time. :) My ex-sister-in-law sued the psychologist over the diagnoses. Hell, she sued everyone she could. I don't know how many times she took my brother to court. It must have been in the teens at least.
Maybe I'm underestimating my nephew, but I don't think he has what it takes to break free and at some point he may be the one trying to control my life like my mother did. Considering I'm on disability, at some point he actually may be able to exert some kind of control on my life, like my mother currently does.
My mother and I have worked out the worst of the problems, but there are still issues that need to be addressed. The problem is I usually don't feel well enough to tackle them.
Like all family issues, it's complicated.