Is there ANYTHING I can say to my nephew to make him reconsider his decision to attend Liberty University?

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.

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Leave him alone. Your attempts at persuasion may be counterproductive to the relationship. If he chooses to be a Falwellian believer, and he thinks that is best for his life, then so be it – that’s his choice. It’s not up to anyone else but him to decide what makes him happy.

Regardless of how he ends up, if you love him it’s important that you develop compassion, understanding and tolerance and – for chrissake! – avoid religion and politics at family gatherings.

Similarly, I have an uncle who has always been like a big brother to me. He is a relentless believer who teaches creation science at his church and organizes creation seminars. I love him dearly, but I DO NOT engage him in religious discussion. If he brings up religious subjects, I will find a way to change the subject or suddenly remember I have a cake in the oven. I’ve accepted that preserving our relationship is paramount, even if that means I have to keep my mouth shut and hold back on all the things I’d like to say. At this point, his mind wouldn’t change and neither would mine, so it just isn’t worth the heartache.

It sounds like with all the upheaval in his life, god may be the only friend he felt was really there for him during the bad times.  However, there is more than one way to skin a cat (so to speak).  Religious institutions often are not accredited along the same lines as state universities, if they are accredited at all.  I have lived in states where they weren't.  Going strictly off the religious reasons to attend this school or not, there are practical considerations.  Is this school accredited in his subject matter?  What is it's status in the university system?  If he should want or need to transfer to a state university will his credits transfer?  Many state universities will not even accept credits from another state university let alone some fly by night religious college.  How do employers view graduates of this university?  Personally, if I were an employer with two equally qualified applicants and one went to this school and one went to state U, I would pick the state U grad, because the quality of education there is known - ie it is accredited. 

 

There is also the cost factor.  Religious colleges are often very expensive - much more expensive than state U.  If his dad is footing the bill, then great!  No worries.  But if he is going to have to take out student loans and pay for this himself, he might want to reconsider in favor of a cheaper (and definitely accredited) college.  I know plenty of people who haven't been able to pay off their student loans for many years.  Student loan debt can be a real ablatross.   Why be saddled with a lot more debt than he has to? 

I know as a freshman, the big question "Can I get a job with a degree from this college?" is probably not looming in his mind, but in three years it will be.  He should also check out the career services office.  If they are not proactive at helping him find work after college, this is another reason to reconsider. 

 

This sounds like a relatively new university.  Not that there's anything wrong with that, but personally, I have found that employers tend to be happier with known schools.  I attended a semi private university with over a 150 year history and strong accreditation credentials, but when I left the state and went were no one ever heard of my school, I found it almost impossible to get a job.  This was not a religious college.  it was a city funded university instead of a state university.  So it cost a little more and they had tougher entrance requirements.  It had a terrible career services department.  I barely knew anyone who got a job through the university.  The state U I later graduated from, placed nearly all of it's graduates.  A really great career services department is important in a university choice too.  You don't think about that as a freshman, as a senior, you think about very little else. 

 

If he wants to be a minister, then this may be a great choice.  Keep up the good work.  And try to help him if he will listen to you, from making a mistake that is going to cost him a lot of money and may not end up in a good job.  I don't know anything about this university, and the website would probably make me puke, so I'll trust your judgment on in it's accreditation and services.  Good luck!

We've had a number of threads regarding people who do no believe and have been either officially or functionally ostracized by their families. Most of use want some community and our tribe or clan is "supposed to be" the closest. So, we are all the lonelier when we are outside the "family" circle even if that family really was much of a family in ideal terms.

 

I would encourage you to separate the issue of your lonliness especially from family from your concern for your nephew. It's really two issues. Deal with the loneliness by finding others who think as you do and don't get hung up on the "family" thing, blood is thicker than water sort of idealism. Deal with you nephew as a person and not as a means to dealing with your loneliness (I'm not being harsh, so please take this as intended).

That would be great, but I honestly think I'm the only atheist in town. I've met a few fence-sitters at the UU Church, but the UU Church isn't for me. I find it as nauseating as religion straight-up.

 

I did meet one older man who said he was an atheist, but just because someone is an atheist doesn't mean they match up with you on other levels. I mean, strictly speaking an atheist doesn't believe in god. That doesn't mean he / she will agree with me politically or share any of my interests. The odds of my finding that in this small town are statistically negligible. And the odds of my moving to another town are not very good, either (disability issues).

In answer to you question, there probably isn't anything you can say. There are no magic words that will inevitably change his mind. He would not even be considering such a decision if he were not deep into the fundy realm. Just express your concern regarding the narrow viewpoint and academics. Address it to his best interest and not your desire for a comrade among your family.

 

I am fortunate. I recently divorced, fundamentalism being a big reason for the divorce and of my three children, although not all are as fundamentalist as the X two are still in the fold of the church. My son is the bright light and I thoroughly enjoy his company. However, it is not his destiny to meet my need for camaraderie and companionship.

I can relate. I have a nephew who claims to be catholic because it's just the popular thing to do. He doesn't attend church, and couldn't tell you anything about biblical events. It's just what everyone else claims to be in his peer group. Recently he was rambling about not believing in ghosts and all those stupid paranormal shows on tv. I wanted to drag him into religion and pepper him with questions, but wasn't sure if my sister would take offense to it. It sounds like your nephew is swept up in it just like mine, sort of. I was 27 before i saw the light. That religious mindset is becoming less popular, and i think alot of kids/adults are figuring this out through life experiences. I think personality has alot to do with it also. If he is gullable, a follower, etc., i don't know if he'll come out of it. Atleast you're concerned with his well being.

After giving this more thought--I think about it a lot--I think I may have found a major issue that drew him more firmly into the fundamentalist trap. His cousin who was more like a sister to him, died in a tragic accident at age twenty. A huge event like that is bound to make some kind of mark.

 

Also, the kid now wants a motorcycle. :( Falwell's University and a motorcycle. I'm glad I'm not his mom (in more ways than one; his mom is nucking futs).

 

Interestingly, my mother and brother agree that a motorcycle is not in my nephew's best interest and we all agreed that maybe we should tell him, but not make a huge deal out of it because kids will often do exactly the opposite of what you tell them to do, especially if you make it a HUGE issue.

 

So far, I've been sitting tight. I haven't told him my opinions on anything.

 

I suppose I could tell him how I feel about Falwell's University and then tell him he is free to do whatever he wants. *shrug* I'm not even sure I feel comfortable with that much.

The process of degree accreditation is pretty weak in the US, isn't it? Oh dear. Good luck.

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