Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Value Judgment Soup

Where do you draw the line for what you find acceptable not, for your everyday actions?  What influences you in these decisions?  Friends?  Family?  Religious beliefs?  Welcome to the slippery slope of value judgments.  I've been giving this topic a lot of thought recently and I feel so...unsure. 

I was raised in an uber right-wing fundamentalist christian household by parents that could be kindly referred to as nutjobs (mother is severely mentally ill, dad's turned to religion and work as his crutch).  Strangely enough, my mother is also Jewish and despite my lack of any real Jewish education, I culturally identify as Jewish and feel a strange sense of belonging even though I still practice some Christian traditions.  It's difficult as an adult trying to make the life I want/can feel good about-I don't know where I fall anymore.  My family spent a good deal of time indoctrinating me with what they feel is the "Christian" way, but as an adult I've wholeheartedly moved away from everything they believe in because A.They're insane and so are most of the things they believe, B.Their beliefs don't really work for them.  They might be blissfully ignorant, but nothing about their lifestyle/choices/beliefs strikes me as beneficial or enjoyable.  I was raised to believe many things about God and religion, and now I'm not sure what to think.  I honestly believe that people tend to believe what they're taught (and more importantly shown) as kids, no matter how crazy, so what if all this Christianity stuff is just blind belief being passed down from generation to generation?  The more time I spend around the kind of people I respect (intelligent, logical, healthy, kind), the more I diverge from the path my family vehemently tried to force down my throat.  I also feel a real connection to Judaic beliefs and culture, although I don't really have any way to be a part of the Jewish community in the casual way that would feel comfortable.  I have sort of accidentally surrounded myself with a network of Jewish people whose beliefs and lifestyle seem to line up with mine...most of my healthcare, business, and a few valued friendships are Jewish and I prefer it that way.  Further complicating things, I've been sort of seeing an atheist and my best friend is an atheist-leaning agnostic.  So considering all these things, I question the validity of any of my Christian beliefs.  I don't see any need to lie to myself about what I believe; I feel like I've been trying to have it both ways, and the two paths are somewhat misaligned. 

It isn't really a big issue in terms of what I end up deciding per se...I want to live in a way that reflects what I truly believe, not what I've been told to believe or scared into.  Relationships create a sticking point in all of this because of my ongoing relationship with my family.  I don't lie to my family but I don't share much of myself, especially with the folks.  So if for example,I were to get pregnant, there wouldn't be any way to distance the conversation from their beliefs.  I'm an adult, but based on my understanding of things it would cause a huge an unnecessary conflict.  Now my bff would ask me why it matters, since my family doesn't really have anything to offer me NOW in terms of love or support- I can't quite quantify it, but I desire to have my family view me in a positive light.  Even beyond the hypothetical, my parents will never be happy with anyone I would choose to marry.  Which is good in a sense, since our values don't align, but bad in the sense that I would want my family to accept whoever I'm with.  Some degree of acceptance is key, since I'd be asking my other half to accept a seriously fucked up relationship that wouldn't benefit them in any way and would cheat them of the typical in-law experience.  I don't discuss anyone I'm dating with my parents; I can envision calling my dad randomly to let him know that I'm getting married and my mother isn't invited (not that I hate her, but because it just couldn't work).  I'm not even sure he would attend my wedding if he felt negatively enough about [insert name here].  And I'm not sure why it matters so much to me, but it does.  What I really want is to just be happy and find someone who loves me unconditionally despite my family, and I feel like I need to clarify my value judgments so I can move in that direction.  It seems this entry has turned stream of consciousness...I hope my point came through.

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