The OF Blog: Conversational buzzkill

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Conversational buzzkill

The other day, just after watching news footage of the protests in Cairo, I thought I'd ask my dad what his take on the situation was.  His response?

"It's a sign of the end times."

And with that, I had to drop the conversation.  Wish I were surprised by it, but I was not.  My dad is much, much, much more conservative than I am both politically and socially (over the past few years, he's become a near-daily viewer of John Hagee's televangelist show, which ought to explain quite a few things to those who know of this person) and he has a huge blind spot when it comes to the Middle East.  If the exact same thing were happening in say Vietnam (where he served a tour), I would imagine that he would have been near ecstatic at the idea of the people protesting (mostly) peacefully against a corrupt and repressive regime.

Yet if it happens anywhere near Israel, he views it as a sign that malignant anti-Israeli forces are gathering power and that the Anti-Christ will soon emerge and the world will be engulfed in the seven years of Tribulation.  I've never bought that nonsense that Hal Lindsey and his ilk have been peddling these past couple of generations, but in the name of keeping family harmony (I do generally get along much better with my parents now that I'm in my 30s and don't need quite the separation that I needed in my late teens and twenties), I keep mum.

However, situations like this do make for conversational buzzkills.  Any similar topics that create a similar effect between you and friends/family?

6 comments:

Eric M. Edwards said...

If it's any consolation (to you or to him) such eschatological reaction to contemporary reports and events - has been going on among Jews and Christians since before the first century.

If the End of Times is coming - then it's overslept by at least a few millennium and is still repeatedly hitting the universal snooze button.

He (and the world) likely have plenty of time. I'd recommend a second cup of coffee.

E.

S.M.D. said...

Oddly enough, I don't think so. It's strange, because I'm an atheist and most of my family are religious (my grandpa was a pastor), but there's very little that stops conversations short with us, even the fact that my mother is gay. Maybe I'm lucky.

Larry said...

Yeah, I know there are some things that my family and I can diverge greatly upon and still talk (sports, sometimes politics), yet when it comes to religion, it's very different. Being a Catholic convert in a family of Methodists and non-denominationals is...interesting, sometimes :P

Eric,

Yeah, I'm familiar with the eschatological debates and I agree that most of the time, the waiting could have been better employed. As I told my mother yesterday in a separate conversation, I think that those who look for the End Times in this overlook the equally strong commandment to care for those who are naked, hungry, and who are in prison. Take care of those as best possible and End Times coming or not, good will have been done.

redhead said...

conversational buzzkill with my family: my Mom used to open every conversation asking when I was going to get a real job. Now she opens every conversation with asking us when we're going to have kids.

total conversational buzzkill, before the conversation even gets started.

Larry said...

Thankfully, my parents are resigned to my current avoidance of getting married or having children. Maybe in the future, but unlikely. I'd hate to experience that for any long length of time, though.

Brian Lindenmuth said...

I live in a county north of Baltimore City in MD. and my wife works in the City school system.

My conversational buzzkill is Relatives that make explicitly racist comments. Especially while ignorant to parallels in our own community.

 
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