|Amy Dickinson: First ever awardee!! Grats Amy!|
This week in the Star Tribune advice column (it's next to the crossword so I often read it), Amy Dickinson responds to a young adult grappling with their non-belief. The concerned 16 year old no longer wants to attend services and is worried that when the subject is broached, their mother would enroll them in some kind of religious counseling. Admittedly, this is a tough one and these kinds of discussion can tear families apart. However, it is my experience that it is the religious person that tears the family apart, not the non-believer. The religious authoritarian mother or father can not abide the non-believer/gay/evolution supporting/democratic/sexually active child and throws them out or worse. Now these specific parents may be completely ok with their child having different beliefs, but there are reasons why this 16 year old may be concerned.
So what is Amy's 'advice'?
You could show how mature you are by seeking the advice of your clergy on your own before discussing this with your folks.Yep, if you do not believe a certain religious dogma, then you should seek the advice of the sellers of the dogma. If you want to stop smoking cigarettes, don't consult a doctor, go see a Philip-Marlboro representative. If you are concerned you are gay, don't talk to a counselor with expertise in sexuality, go see Marcus Bachmann's faith-based reorientation counselors.
This is a familiar issue, and a compassionate pastor may actually encourage your parents to give you more space.
Did it occur to Amy that the clergy member has a vested interest in retaining this soul for Allah, Jesus, Zeus, whomever? Yes, a compassionate pastor may be helpful, but is it worth the risk to the 16 year old to take this chance? What if you are wrong Amy? It is worth noting the 16 year old is concerned about being entered in religious counseling. Doesn't that suggest the parents may not belong to the most empathetic sect on the planet? Why send the young adult to the clergy and not a humanist? It seems Amy's advice serves to cater to the parents' potential needs and not the 16 year old's.