Wow, so many responses! Thanks a lot for your useful comments!
Obviously, I cut a long a story short in my first post. That was about 4 months ago I suddenly realised the level of intolerance she reached, and I felt very down then. We had some discussions that essentially led to a better understanding of each other's point of view, but no more. I have to admit I had some difficulties at that time to imagine how we could go forward together. I am better now, but we are still in a "status quo" situation.
I initiated a few times some discussions about the child's religious education, but in essence she doesn't want to hear about it. She says she is against me teaching our daughter, but that I am the father and I have the right to teach my child, and she just doesn't want to be involved in that. It's like she has an internal conflict: on one hand, she doesn't want to oppose the father teaching his religion to the child, but on the other hand, this will lead her to hell (and away from Jesus)...
So all in all, she doesn't want to discuss the matter of the child's religious eduction, which is not very healthy in my opinion...
Fede wrote:You must discuss this sensibly and logically with your wife - out of your daughters' earshot.
Zom wrote:you can make an agreement with your wife to teach daughter only those religious things that you both do share.
Fede wrote:...whatever you decide to do, you should do it in complete agreement and with the whole-hearted co-operation and consent of your wife.
conflict should not arise.
You must seek compromise and do what you both agree on.
These are good pieces of advice, thank you. However, I wonder how I can approach the subject with her as she is totally closed to it. As mentionned above, I already tried a few times and she doesn't want to talk about it. It's a bit like if she says she agrees to anything, she is committing sin or offensing God.
Fede wrote:This seems (to your wife) to indicate that you do not take your calling as seriously as your she takes hers
That's most probably true. The difference is that in Buddhism, a strong calling results in less fuss and showing, while the opposite is true for the Christian fundamentalists. But I probably need to be more assertive.
Fede wrote:she doesn't take your faith seriously, otherwise she might have consulted you on how best to raise your daughter together
Actually, I never saw that a problem until she turned born-again. Before that, she was even proud that I was a Buddhist! Now I am doomed to hell!
In fact, we never talked about the religious bringing of the child until recently. That's probably because both of us didn't think that was an issue or whether that was important.
I will give this advice to whoever is in an inter-faith marriage: however strong or weak your faith or your partner's faith is, discuss and agree the question of religious bringing of your children BEFORE having them! When everything's rosy, we don't think problems can arise, but they may appear in the future and then you will regret (like me) not having discussed the matter beforehand.
thereductor wrote:I make it simple: she may teach them what she wants, but I am going to do the same. My only limit is that they cannot go to church. Binding up their peer group and their religion, it seems to me, would certainly preclude them from having a free thought of their own, for fear of exclusion (I have seen a lot of such fear among my friends while in school).
That's quite sensible. Unfortunately, she takes her to church for years now, so it would be out of touch for me to ask her to stop now. In the past I actually encouraged my wife to go to church (before she turned born-again). I even went with her a few times to encourage her. But these were "quiet" and "soft" churches: a bit of singing, a bit of praying, a lot of community stuff. I never imagined she would go to churches where people shout, jump in the air, enter trance/roll on the floor, and speak in babbles...
Modus.Ponens wrote:I say this with good intention: beware of the born again christians.
Your post made me laugh! But it's frightening when one realizes it's a good reflection of reality...
thereductor wrote:Will my kids become Christian? Possibly. But there is one thing they will certainly be: well informed on the Buddhadhamma and my relationship to it.
I think you're right, and I'll follow your example.
Khalil Bodhi wrote:Please find the list of books here
Many thanks for the list! I have been struggling finding such children books! Actually, I found it difficult to find books that are not too much with a "mahayana" slant...
Fede wrote:Remember: a theistic religion is about "putting it all 'out there for God' to do with as he sees fit".
Buddhism is about "owning it all 'in here' and taking full responsibility for thought, word and action".
So - be responsible.
That's absolutely correct, that's why I am quite slow and take action step by step, I try to avoid desctructive or negative actions. In addition, I still believe the best way to raise a child is by setting an example.
Goofaholix wrote:Sounds like you are being very reasonable about it and keeping things harmonious but understand this issue won't go away unless you convert or she does.
Well, everything was fine until she turned fundamentalist. Differences of religion should not be a problem in itself. But it becomes one when one partner refuses to agree that the other has also the same grounds to have another religion.
I think that all in all, I can live and be happy with this status quo. This crisis also helped me to realise that my wife, my marriage and even my family are not everything. I suffered a lot before at the idea of a divorce, but now I am at peace with it. In other words, if we stay together that's fine, if we separate, that's fine too. I will not force things either way.
BuddhaSoup wrote:Through my work I have sometimes seen people invest themselves suddenly and deeply in Christian conservative "faith" and practice when there are indications of depression, and sometimes when the person is struggling internally and requires the black and white certainty that those Xtian practices seem to provide. I don't mean to overanalyze this, but I would feel remiss if I simply said nothing at all in response to your thoughtful and caring post.
She was Christian before, but in her own words, she was not yet "born-again"!
She met someone very engaged who brought her to such a church, and that was the start of it. You might be right, though... When I look at those born-again Christians, they all look to me like they have some sort of mental derangement, have problems with their own image, or are somehow of the "asocial" type.
BuddhaSoup wrote:It may be helpful to assess with your wife whether she is experiencing any emotional turmoil, instability, or depression.
I have not noted anything special... She always had a bad temper, but if anything it tended to ease very slightly. But I'll try to pay attention to that.
BuddhaSoup wrote:If these issues really begin to create some issues for your family, consider finding a good family therapist (secular) who might work with the two of you and the family as a whole to explore healthy ways to deal with this internal concern in your family system.
Based on what she says about doctors, psychanalysts, humanists, scientists etc. (everyone not born-again Christian in brief), that's unlikely she would agree to see a secular therapist. In any case, God and Jesus are above all and are the only one(s) to be able to solve problems! She even told me a few times God comes first and I come after, which is fine to me.
BuddhaSoup wrote:My personal expereince has been that there are many Xtians who have a balanced view of their faith and do not allow it to become an obsessive aspct of theoir lives. I do see, though, that the obsessive and "black and white thinking that some Xtians present can be indicative of an underlying clinical or emotional concern. All of this is amenable to therapy, but you wife must be willing to meet you in the middle and work with a good independent clinical therapist (LCSW or Ph.D level) and not require that you meet only with her pastor or church family group.
My wife would fall into the "black and white" category. It's quite neat to be able to categorise things that easily! The funniest part is that they themselves are clueless about what goes into which category. If you listen to them speaking between themselves, they just speaking in conditionals without any assertions! They don't know whether something is bad or good; but forunately, God works everything for good! How reassuring! And when they speak to an unbeliever, they are VERY asssertive. Interesting, isn't it?
And that's without mentioning it's the end of the world, Satan rules the Earth, evolution theory is wrong, and all sorts of such non-senses.
BuddhaSoup wrote:I repeat your concerns are correct and there is a pathway forward for your family to be healthy. I wish you the best in sorting out a problem that here in the US has become a concern for some families.
Many thanks for your advice, I'll definitely try to keep my eyes opened with this in mind.