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Conflicting religious beliefs: How to deal?

Posted by on Aug. 7, 2012 at 11:03 AM
  • 32 Replies

We are a Christian home, and BM has no religious affiliation.  DH and BM were together 11 years and neither of them were anything.  That's cool; BM can live her life any way she wants.  I'm sure BM was surprised to hear that DH was Christian now, and that on our weekends, we were taking SD to church.  SD really liked it, even asked to go to VBS, where she earned a Bible she was excited about reading.  That's when BM took a turn.  She told SD she can't read the bible because she can't be a Christian, because she is 100% Jewish.  HUH?  She even tells GAL that she has always been strictly orthodox Jewish.  Again, HUH?  BM took SD's Bible away and SD says "mom says I can't read my Bible because I'm Jewish."  Now, if she really was Jewish and truly exposed her to Judaism, I would think that is great.  SD could be exposed to both and make her own decisions when she is ready.  But BM doesn't do this - not even a little.  She doesn't go to temple or observe holidays, or anything.  BM just makes her feel it is wrong to go to church with us or be Christian. 

I understand the basics, but I'm not Jewish. So to help SD feel less conflicted about the position her mother has put her in, we introduced SD to one of our orthodox Jewish friends.  They spent the day talking about it, and friend shared traditions, prayers, even traditional foods with SD.  So now she seems to think Judaism is ok, but that Christianity is still bad and refuses to go to church with us now.  Begs us not to take her and asks to go to mom's instead.  DH is dealing with it; I'm staying out of it, but he tells her she doesn't have to go and we all stay home together.  Gives me heart burn, but I keep it to myself. 

Anyone else out there dealing with this kind of thing?

by on Aug. 7, 2012 at 11:03 AM
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Replies (1-10):
saywhat2102
by Gold Member on Aug. 7, 2012 at 11:40 AM
2 moms liked this

nunI will pray for you!  LOL bitchy thing to say but I couldn't help myself!!  I really have ZERO advice for you cause you cant make her go.  If you want to go let dh stay at home and you go.  My church has service on Weds and 2 times on Sundays so while you cant make her go at least you and your husband could attend together every now and then.  Good luck! :)

hershey6
by Bronze Member on Aug. 7, 2012 at 11:40 AM
1 mom liked this

Our situation is not exactly the same by any means, but there are some similarities in that the two houses have different religious views.  BM is very involved with Christianity and works at a church.  On the weekends that the kids are with her, they are at church for at least 6 hours and are usually there a couple nights a week as well.  In our house, we our very spiritual and say family prayers and such, but not religious. 

While we certainly don't agree with everything that they are taught by their mother, we respect their beliefs and how they choose to use them in their life.  However, we do draw the line when they say hateful things and then use their religion to justify it.  Forinstance, if they ydecide that they hate gay people because that is what their church teaches, then they have every right to believe that (don't get me started on that whole thing) but in our home, they are required to be respectful of the fact that we are loving and accepting.  That doesn't mean that they have to be friends with gay people, but since we are, they are required to be respectful and kind to those people while they are with us.

CoochieLibre
by on Aug. 7, 2012 at 11:52 AM

In our CO it says that each parent has the right to lead the children in their spiritual/religious practices. I don't think there is anything wrong with exposing children to many different religious beliefs and, like you said, letting the child choose what is right for themselves. Does DH's CO have anything in it regarding religion?

sandeeyo
by Le Bonjour Chat on Aug. 7, 2012 at 11:55 AM
1 mom liked this

Your SD is 100% Jewish if her mother is Jewish.  I understand that it comes from your mother's side, not dad's.  So if dad is not Jewish and mother is, then the kids are Jewish.  But, if dad is Jewish and mom is not, the kids aren't considered Jewish.  I'm sure that's an oversimplified version...but,

Anyway, if your SD thinks that Judaism is cool and doesn't want to attend your christian church, I wouldn't force her.  It's her choice.  Let her explore and don't force your religious beliefs on her.  It's not your choice, it's strictly your SD's choice.

It's your DH's choice not to attend services and spend time with his daughter.  Why don't you just go alone?  It'll give them some alone time, and you some time with God and your thoughts.  A win-win for both, I'm thinking.  Unless you're of the mind that if one doesn't go, the rest shouldn't either.  Get some independence and go by yourself.  If someone questions it, say they're taking some daddy-daughter time together.

FresshAir
by on Aug. 7, 2012 at 11:57 AM

Yes, same thing as yours.  She's not shy to violate the CO, but that's another sad story all together.

Quoting CoochieLibre:

In our CO it says that each parent has the right to lead the children in their spiritual/religious practices. I don't think there is anything wrong with exposing children to many different religious beliefs and, like you said, letting the child choose what is right for themselves. Does DH's CO have anything in it regarding religion?


FresshAir
by on Aug. 7, 2012 at 12:01 PM

I like this advice... We were just taken by surprise because this was the first we heard that BM was Jewish.  Even after their 11 years together, DH had no idea.  I have no hate for people who think differently than I do, and we promote independent thought in our home.  But I didn't realize until right now that, by not going to church without them, I was not showing an example of that living out in me.  Thank you for this.

Quoting sandeeyo:

Your SD is 100% Jewish if her mother is Jewish.  I understand that it comes from your mother's side, not dad's.  So if dad is not Jewish and mother is, then the kids are Jewish.  But, if dad is Jewish and mom is not, the kids aren't considered Jewish.  I'm sure that's an oversimplified version...but,

Anyway, if your SD thinks that Judaism is cool and doesn't want to attend your christian church, I wouldn't force her.  It's her choice.  Let her explore and don't force your religious beliefs on her.  It's not your choice, it's strictly your SD's choice.

It's your DH's choice not to attend services and spend time with his daughter.  Why don't you just go alone?  It'll give them some alone time, and you some time with God and your thoughts.  A win-win for both, I'm thinking.  Unless you're of the mind that if one doesn't go, the rest shouldn't either.  Get some independence and go by yourself.  If someone questions it, say they're taking some daddy-daughter time together.


lilangilyn
by on Aug. 7, 2012 at 12:51 PM
1 mom liked this

Hmm. I think the child should go with your husband to church on his time, if that is what he desires. Exposure to different faiths is a good thing. She can go on BM's time to tabernacle.

The thing is, being Jewish is not about going to worship services, it is about the culture and the history. So I kinda get it that the BM is upset with it.

At the same time, the child should be respectful of her father's faith and go to church as a sign of respect. She doesn't have to embrace it, believe it or anything else.

I feel sad that the kid has to be put in the middle like this. A loving mom would let the child experience both cultures.

angelmommy2806
by on Aug. 7, 2012 at 1:00 PM
If your Dh is giving her the choice and she decides not to, you can still go. I'm not a church person per say but if I find one I like I've gone alone.
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KelliStars
by on Aug. 7, 2012 at 1:05 PM
3 moms liked this

Sorry if this is long - but there is a lot of ground to cover (and arguments that you & DH can use). 

My exbf is jewish and I am christian (we were together 10 years). He was raised orthodox jew and transitioned into Reform as an adult. His parents, aunts, uncles and cousins maintained being Orthodox Jews. We respected each others beleifs and celebrated each other's belief without compromising our individual beliefs. 

By jewish law, the religion of a child is based on the mother's religion. If the mother's jewish, the child is jewish. If the mother is christian/budist/islamic etc, the child is christian/budist/islamic etc. The child may only become jewish if they convert to judism and it is authorized by a rabbi. 

BM may have been raised orthodox jew, but she is considered a "lapsed" jew. Orthodox Judaism maintains that the Torah and Jewish law are divine in origin, eternal and unalterable, and that they should be strictly followed. Conservative and Reform Judaism are more liberal. GAL is probably unaware that since BM does not "strictly follow" jewish law, she is NOT Orthodox jew. GAL is also probably unaware that there is no way that a "Orthodox" jew would be in a relationship with anyone other than another "Orthodox" jew. It is not only completely against their beliefs and laws, but Orthodox jewish women are not even allowed to speak to, look at, or touch a man who is not in their family. Actually, neither can a Orthodox jewish man for that matter. 

The Old Testament and parts of the New Testament actually come from the Torah (we'll call it the Jewish Bible). It is perfectly acceptable for a jewish person to read those texts. It doesn't make them a christian.  In addition, Crist was not only an Orthodox Jew but also Rabbi. Reading His words is no different from reading the writings of any other Rabbi. It is totally irrelavant that his words are in a christian bible vs reading them in the Torah. As for the other portions of the bible not included in the Torah, I would tell DD that learning about how to be a better person, make good decisions, avoid mistakes, and getting answers is always good. Thats what the rest of the bible does. It does not make her a christian. 

So what does make her a christian? A simple answer is a christian is a person who believes that Christ is the massiah, the son of G-d, and the savior of man. Jewish beliefs state that Christ was a prophet, but not the massiah. 

I do recommend that you include Jewish traditions, prayers and foods in with your Christian traditions. I found that they added to my children's beliefs, and our holidays. Frankly, it was wonderful for all of us. 

As for you and DH staying home instead of going to church - remember Matthew 18:20 - "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." Relax and enjoy learning and teaching your spiritual beliefs. 

If you need more help - let me know. 

FresshAir
by on Aug. 7, 2012 at 1:25 PM

Wonderful advice!! Thank you for sharing this with me.  There are several things that lead me to believe that BM is not really Jewish at all and is using this to further turn SD against us.  BM only claims to be Jewish, but has no knowledge of any of the beliefs, traditions, or practices.  In court, she was asked about Passover, but she didn't know what it was, or anything else about Judaism.  Nevertheless, she has SD convinced she is Jewish, so we are just doing what we can to make her feel supported and sharing what little we know about it.  What you've shared with me here has helped me understand Judaism so much more, and it will truly be helpful in our efforts with SD.  Thank you so much!

Quoting KelliStars:

Sorry if this is long - but there is a lot of ground to cover (and arguments that you & DH can use). 

My exbf is jewish and I am christian (we were together 10 years). He was raised orthodox jew and transitioned into Reform as an adult. His parents, aunts, uncles and cousins maintained being Orthodox Jews. We respected each others beleifs and celebrated each other's belief without compromising our individual beliefs. 

By jewish law, the religion of a child is based on the mother's religion. If the mother's jewish, the child is jewish. If the mother is christian/budist/islamic etc, the child is christian/budist/islamic etc. The child may only become jewish if they convert to judism and it is authorized by a rabbi. 

BM may have been raised orthodox jew, but she is considered a "lapsed" jew. Orthodox Judaism maintains that the Torah and Jewish law are divine in origin, eternal and unalterable, and that they should be strictly followed. Conservative and Reform Judaism are more liberal. GAL is probably unaware that since BM does not "strictly follow" jewish law, she is NOT Orthodox jew. GAL is also probably unaware that there is no way that a "Orthodox" jew would be in a relationship with anyone other than another "Orthodox" jew. It is not only completely against their beliefs and laws, but Orthodox jewish women are not even allowed to speak to, look at, or touch a man who is not in their family. Actually, neither can a Orthodox jewish man for that matter. 

The Old Testament and parts of the New Testament actually come from the Torah (we'll call it the Jewish Bible). It is perfectly acceptable for a jewish person to read those texts. It doesn't make them a christian.  In addition, Crist was not only an Orthodox Jew but also Rabbi. Reading His words is no different from reading the writings of any other Rabbi. It is totally irrelavant that his words are in a christian bible vs reading them in the Torah. As for the other portions of the bible not included in the Torah, I would tell DD that learning about how to be a better person, make good decisions, avoid mistakes, and getting answers is always good. Thats what the rest of the bible does. It does not make her a christian. 

So what does make her a christian? A simple answer is a christian is a person who believes that Christ is the massiah, the son of G-d, and the savior of man. Jewish beliefs state that Christ was a prophet, but not the massiah. 

I do recommend that you include Jewish traditions, prayers and foods in with your Christian traditions. I found that they added to my children's beliefs, and our holidays. Frankly, it was wonderful for all of us. 

As for you and DH staying home instead of going to church - remember Matthew 18:20 - "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." Relax and enjoy learning and teaching your spiritual beliefs. 

If you need more help - let me know. 


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