on daring to doubt

on daring to doubt
Friday December 05, 2008

Dear Alice Miller

I read with great interest your answer to one of the readers this month about religion.
After having gone further into your work and ideas the last months and focusing more on my childhood reality I suprisingly find myself with a totally lack of respect(I haven’t done anything at all deliberate thinking!) whenever I see priests, bishops and religious programs on TV. I just feel astonished by these people’s “forced goodness”, hypochrisy and I even feel disgusted sometimes(and I remember myself as a child I never trusted religious people who always had to make a point out of it. I didn’t like them). Yesterday I found myself laughing when I saw a bunch of dressed-up priests on TV…it has all suddenly become TOTALLY absurd to me and all the ceremonies and bullshit theatrical talk are just funny! But I haven’t done anything else than look into my childhood. It’s not like going to the university and read academic critical articles and then feel like you’ve balanced something. It’s rather something deep inside that has changed place and now everything that craves respect seems absurd and comical to me. The other day I was watching my favorite movie; Bergman’s Fanny&Alexander, and I have seen it tens of times before. But this time when Alexander speaks about the personality of the God of the bishop I smiled and laughed heartily: Alexander says something like this:” If God is getting upset for what a little person as Alexander is saying or doing in his little life then he’s just that piss and shit God that I’ve always suspected him to be”.

Well. Alexander knew this point that it’s ridiculous and absurd for a father to be obsessed with punishing a child for his utterances and honest opinions. He doesn’t give in to Our Lord or anyone when the bishop punishes him, he just knows that the bishop is dangerous. The really interesting thing is that Alexander has to be this good father to himself because of the mother’s betrayal, telling himself that he’s just a child and can’t possibly know all the things that God knows, so why should God be upset with Alexander?

I thank you from my heart for having opened my eyes to my childhood fears so I can now question everything I want to. THANK YOU!!!

AM: It was great fun to read your letter because it happens rather rarely that my trust in my feelings and in my healthy reasoning succeed in contaminating so quickly another person. First they react with fear and resistance, especially if religion is at stake, but sometimes, after a while, they say AHA!. I can imagine that these thoughts were liberating for you because you dared to have your doubts already as a child. But without any support we are afraid to take our feelings seriously if all people around believe the same lies.