Author Topic: Holding my tongue /w religious friends...the idea of "worship" (atheists only)  (Read 12842 times)

steveo

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #100 on: December 26, 2018, 02:32:37 PM »
My wife is catholic. I have to go to church at Christmas and Easter. It could be a lot worse for you.

I've learnt that although religion is clearly something a little weird it is also something that a huge number of people have decided to believe in. It may provide them with some good guidelines to live their life or it might even be that practicing a religion is somehow good for you from a psychological perspective.

There are people that believe in all funny sorts of things and I don't really think focusing on religion is really going for low hanging fruit. I think that there are weirder belief systems out there.

partgypsy

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #101 on: December 26, 2018, 03:16:59 PM »
Cindybs thank you for sharing your story. I had the opposite thing happen where someone I knew and admired who was not particularly religious, became so at the very end of her fight with cancer. She was also grasping at anything for a cure, like fungal extracts and diet. She was scared sh*less because she had young kids and wanted some kind of hope she was going to make it and watch her kids grow up. Her denial and wanting only to be positive impacted her kids, because even though her doctor and friends advised her to not put off having the "talk" with the kids that Mommy might not make it, she kept putting it off, putting it off, so her kids were not prepared, and it was even more traumatic to them.

It was a tragedy all the way around. She was one of those people who was special. A lot of people would have sacrificed some of their own life force to keep her going, if that was something possible, and if prayers worked the way people think they should she would still be living. 

DreamFIRE

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #102 on: December 26, 2018, 04:26:01 PM »

I'm late, but I just wanted to add my "Merry Christmas" to the thread as well.

ND

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #103 on: December 26, 2018, 09:08:17 PM »
My mom and grandma were both on the verge of tears as they were talking about how their friend's friend's son (someone they didn't even know) had an atheist girlfriend.  I, being the only other person in the room with them, pretended I had to go to the bathroom while they got over their... ahem, "loss."

I'm the only atheist in my family, and the way that I hear most of my religious family members talk about atheists makes me afraid to ever tell them what my beliefs are.  I've been in the closet about this for well over a decade, and I'm still not sure if it's even worth it for me to tell them.

I would like my family members to know that I don't place any value whatsoever on feeling correct about how the universe came into existence, so then I can stop worrying that they'll catch me off guard and find out about my atheism before I've had a chance to figure out how to tell them gently.  Once they know, I can finally have my "♫Let it Go♫" moment, and break into song and dance right there in front of them or something, lmao.

I was listening to some atheist podcast the other day (don't remember which one) where someone said something like "It's better to be your genuine self than to try to meet other people more than half way."  I like that idea in theory.  In practice, I guess I don't like rocking the boat.  As it stands right now, I tense up uncontrollably around people when then topic of religion comes up.  Also, anxiety is a bitch, and it gives me literal headaches over this stuff sometimes, so that sucks.

However, I also don't want to cause my family any unnecessary grief over what I consider to be an extremely trivial and inconsequential matter.  Right now they seem pretty happy to assume that I'm some sort of non-practicing Christian, so I guess I'll just let them keep thinking that until they explicitly ask me.  Hey, at least they already know I don't go to church.  Telling them that was a HUGE step for me, seriously.  I'll be really careful with my wording if I do come out as non-religious, though.  I think it's safe to assume the word "atheist" would not accurately convey my beliefs or values to them, at least not without a lot of follow-up explanation.  I think there would be much less of a chance for miscommunication if I used the word "agnostic," though I'm sure even that would compel them to up their "we must bring him back into the fold" game.  I don't think I should tell them that I find the concept of "worship" to be totally abhorrent and immoral, too.  Guess I'll just keep that one to myself.

From my perspective, being incorrect about the nature of the universe is just a given.  The universe is weird and cool.  So what if it got created by an intentional process?  I wouldn't feel the need to call the creator a "god," because that word has been overloaded with too many definitions, stipulations, and stories anyway.  I wouldn't call it "supernatural" either; that word is dumb and lazy.

From the perspective of my Christian relatives, it seems like the universe is neither weird nor cool.  Rather, it's some kind of scary 1000-question test that you're supposed to pass with flying colors, with eternal consequences for being lucky enough to have been born into the culture that gives you the most accurate study guide.  Man, I'm really glad I was never convinced by the "hell for nonbelievers" narrative when I was a kid.  That made the initial process of deconversion... hella easy. (◕‿◕)
I feel sorry for kids that have to shed that belief.  I hope my nieces and nephews either won't have to, or if they do, that it's as easy for them as it was for me.

PS: It's pretty telling that I usually seek out discussions with fellow non-religious people right after coming home from visiting relatives over the holidays, and here I am, doing it again.  I just can't resist :P
« Last Edit: December 26, 2018, 09:17:22 PM by ND »

WhiteTrashCash

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #104 on: December 26, 2018, 09:12:48 PM »
I'm not atheist, but I just wanted to tell you folks that if you refrain from being insulting and treating religious people like they are somehow mentally deficient, then they will generally be kinder to you. There are always crazies, of course, but generally that's a good rule of thumb with other human beings.

Cassie

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #105 on: December 26, 2018, 09:32:09 PM »
WTC, you are absolutely right. I never told my mom who I was very close to and discussed many things with her that I no longer believed. Why would I want to hurt her? Some things are better left unsaid.

former player

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #106 on: December 27, 2018, 01:59:22 AM »
ND, I'm sorry for your troubles.  I'm sure you are right that telling would do more harm than good.

I agree that it doesn't help to challenge other people's beliefs, outside very specific circumstances.  I'm happy for people to believe whatever they want.  But I'm not happy for them to try to impose those beliefs on me, and far too often that is what the more extremely religious (although in my experience not usually the most devoutly religious) try to do far too often.  Sometimes I can let it go, sometimes I can just walk away.  Occasionally I have to stand up for my own world view, in which case I'm not trying to impose it on anyone, I'm just trying to get them to leave me alone with it.

Philociraptor

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #107 on: December 27, 2018, 07:45:01 AM »
I came out to my parents as an atheist back in high school, but never saw any point in attacking their belief. They were shocked and I'm sure my mom is still sad about it, but it honestly just doesn't come up very often. They pray before meals and I quietly bow my head, and they attend church on Sundays while I sleep in (in my own house). Every funeral I attend is overtly religious, but if the thought of a happy afterlife makes the passing of a loved-one easier for them, then that's fine with me. I'm more of a "You want a physicist to speak at your funeral" type person, and I'm going to explicitly ask that that be read at my funeral.

I do not shy away from the term atheist, because the literal definition is "a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods", which describes me exactly. No point in using different language to "soften the blow" for others, even if I sometimes have to follow up with the definition for them so that they understand. So far almost everybody in my life has understood.

Nick_Miller

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #108 on: December 27, 2018, 08:17:50 AM »
Hmm...interesting stories and experiences. I thank everyone for sharing.

I suppose I am more "militant" than most of you all, although again I don't go around picking fights in my day to day life. Hell, as others said, it doesn't come up a ton anyway. I try to be gracious; when I'm at a event where everyone prays I just stand there with my eyes open but I don't make a scene.

But when I say I'm more "militant," I mean that I think it would be good for religion to die. I think religion makes it harder for believers to separate fact from fiction. I think it teaches people to mislead their children. I think it teaches people to cling to a very narrow worldview at a time when we are learning more and more about the cosmos (still obviously we're just at the start). It divides people. Religions are different "teams" and many of them hate each other. As someone said earlier, atheists discount all gods, while most theists simply discount all gods but their own. Everyone is discounting a ton.

I don't think religion allows people to do anything they couldn't do without religion.

You can build hospitals and care for the poor without religion. You don't have to act out of hope for some perfect afterlife or out of fear for some eternal damnation. You can do good simply to do good. You can strive to be a good human without buying into ancient belief systems. I do.

Now does verbally "punching people in the face" work? Normally, no I don't think it does. You are basically dealing with a brainwashed person. How do you "deprogram" someone who has SO much tied up into a belief system? You could compare it to confronting a Trumper. Even if that Trumper is starting to question their own decisions, they have so much tied up into it. No one wants to admit they are wrong about something very important. Going from theist to atheist forces you to admit "I was spending mental time and energy worshiping some invisible being who doesn't exist. Am I a fool?" Very few people want to have that conversation with themselves. It is easier to just keep going.

When I deconverted, I did feel like a fool. I was angry with myself. I asked myself, "Nick, you are 32 years old. You are a grown man. You are an attorney. Why the fuck did you devote mental energy to ancient myths and superstition? You are better than this." I read the whole Bible. Most people don't do that, at least not with a critical eye. I almost threw up when I read the she bear passage. Like literally I almost vomited. How could ANYONE read this and say, "Yes, sign me up for this!" is beyond my comprehension. 

And what kills me the most is that it's so obvious. It's not like you have to be a genius to see through the charade. It's not some gigantic puzzle. All you have to do is tug on a thread and it all unravels. But somehow I'm the asshole for tugging on the thread. Somehow it is "cruel" or "disrespectful" to point out the obvious. Those attacks have kept people from criticizing religion for centuries. Look at anti-blasphemy laws. I mean, wtf? What does it mean when a government has to come in to say, "No no no, these beliefs are so precious that they cannot be criticized in any way?" How fragile is the whole system when people say, "No No no, it's not nice to say bad things about this religion?"

It's like a child clinging to Santa. "Should we tell her?"  "No no, let her enjoy it one more time this year. Maybe next year."  "Okay."

So when you are like me and you basically view the majority of people as being brainwashed into cults, no you do not view that as a normal or good thing. You try to figure out how to unbrainwash them, but it's a really f'ing difficult thing to do, or else someone would have done it by now.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2018, 08:25:27 AM by Nick_Miller »

wenchsenior

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #109 on: December 27, 2018, 08:20:28 AM »
I'm not atheist, but I just wanted to tell you folks that if you refrain from being insulting and treating religious people like they are somehow mentally deficient, then they will generally be kinder to you. There are always crazies, of course, but generally that's a good rule of thumb with other human beings.

I've never had a problem with religious people not being 'kind' to me (they have been) or me being 'kind' to them (I have been).  I don't ever recall having a seriously unpleasant personal encounter with any religious person (not counting the only time I tried to argue with a stranger about it my freshman year in college...I was young, and I learned from that encounter).  Most people get along fine with each other, including atheists and religious types. 

The problem only arises when they want to convince me of their nutty ideas, and unexpectedly or inappropriately decide to do so. The one truly unpleasant encounter I can remember was a second or third cousin at my grandmother's funeral, who approached me seemingly to 'chat and catch up', but in reality was just waiting for an opening.  When I realized what was going on, I could not believe how tacky it was.  That is one time I actually did kind of lose composure.  I think I said something like, "Wait, you are going to do this NOW?  What a dick move."  But I didn't engage, I just turned and walked away to the other side of the room. (And warned my sisters).

BicycleB

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #110 on: December 27, 2018, 09:56:23 AM »
Stories, you say? I can share one!

For what it's worth, I had a really wonderful experience discussing the very issues that trouble you, while being interrogated by a swarm of Christians.

***

I was a young gently atheist man working in the Bible Belt at a store owned by a family of evangelical pastors. I shared an office at the edge of the building with the only other Christ-ignorer. One day, he came to work troubled.

"What's wrong?" asked Friendly Lady Who Works With Us. Buddy responded, "I had a very confusing dream." After he gave details, she responded that he was probably being sent a message, and ought to listen to it.

It should be noted that her response was palpably based in warm sincere listening to his troubles, and caring for him as a fellow being. It was equally deft in stating her interpretation, while explicitly leaving the response up to him. He took the ball and ran with it. Within days, he was a new convert.

One day it occurred to him to wonder about me. Sincerely curious, Buddy asked "Are you saved?" I responded with my own sincerity: "That's not really how I view it."

Within minutes, the ensuing conversation had attracted onlookers, who in turn became participants. Each time I answered an honest Christian question with a simple explanation - "I don't really believe in God" or "no, I don't need Him to stop me from doing wrong things, I like being honest anyway..." - the conversation deepened the pattern of being an honest meeting of the minds, a sincere exploration of how I and my questioners felt as humans, and how we viewed the world. After 45 minutes, their questions and my answers covered most of the ground your concerns do, though perhaps more gently. My favorite question was when the company CFO asked "If you're not afraid of being punished by God, how do you deal with temptation?"

Sure, being surrounded by a standing Inquisition of Christians as the only atheist, sitting at my desk being quizzed by people who in some cases pay my paycheck when my stash was three figures could have felt different. But my matter of fact explanations and warm tone, plus Buddy's sincere curiosity, made the whole event retain a tone of mutual respect.

It seemed that I had opened some of their minds to the possibility that a real person with understandable feelings was not a Christian. The CFO basically said that, to much head nodding, and thanked me. I could tell from their other behavior that such kindness wasn't automatic in their religious practice; this was a special and unusual event. No one changed their religious views from it, but it was a heartwarming experience. Honestly, I felt we bonded from it.

PS. Re militance - I should say that no one changed their religious views at the time. But someone once told me "What people tell you now doesn't matter. It's how they feel three years from now that matters. Because people change over time. It starts with them seeing something in you that makes them curious. Later they work with it on their own." Did the possibility of not needing God to keep temptations in check later lead to a change of religious view on the CFO's part? Or a future shift by Buddy? I don't know.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2018, 10:23:41 AM by BicycleB »

scantee

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #111 on: December 27, 2018, 11:04:10 AM »
Is it religion generally that is troublesome to you or Christianity in particular?

I was raised Lutheran, went through confirmation, the whole bit, but I never believed. It was not the fantastical elements of the Christian story that bothered so much as it was that I am deeply disturbed by many of the foundational elements of the Christian faith. Faith over works and the Christian concept of heaven and hell, to name a couple of examples.

At this point in time, I consider myself agnostic, but mostly I'd say that my core belief is that humans as animals lack the ability to process why we are here and how we got here. And while I believe science is a fantastic tool for revealing truths, I also believe that it is a very flawed and crude method. Essentially, we are but tiny and inconsequential collections of cells floating through the universe who have no clue whatsoever what is going on most of the time.

Something that has benefited me greatly in grappling with my distaste for Christianity in particular is to study other religions, non-Abrahamic religions specifically. Not every religion believes in life after death. Not every religion emphasizes faith. Some religions don't even have a God! Buddhism in particular resonates with me as a very compelling way of understanding life and its meaning across time. Would I call myself a Buddhist? No, not at this time. But I completely get why someone would be a Buddhist. It makes sense to me in a way that Christianity just never has. And while I personally still find Christianity deeply uncompelling, understanding why people would be attracted to other religions, like Buddhism, has given me more patience with the faith of Christians.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2018, 11:06:28 AM by scantee »

NorCal

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #112 on: December 27, 2018, 11:16:18 AM »

Things I can't say to my religious friends...

1) You realize that mythologies used to be religions, right?  People used to worship Thor. Now he's an Avenger.

2) You realize there have been like thousands of religions? Doesn't that tell you something?

3) Do you think you'd become a heathen ax murderer if you deconverted today? If not, doesn't that tell you something?

4) When you say that you "talk with God," or that "God talked to me," WTF do you mean? Did you hear an actual voice, or did you think to yourself?

5) If God is all-knowing, meaning he knows every decision we will ever make before we make it, how do we still have free will? We would just be programmed puppets. For example, let's say God talks to me on Saturday. I ask, "God, what tie will I wear tomorrow?" God says, "You will wear a yellow tie." Flash forward to Sunday. I look in my closet and choose a tie out of the dozens I have in all sorts of colors. Can I pick a non-yellow tie? Why or why not?"

6) Have you read the whole Bible? Do you realize there are hundreds of editions and that the text is actually different and that different churches "interpret" the word differently? How can a perfect road map be so vague and nebulous, with so many internal inconsistencies? Doesn't it worry you that you are basing your worldview on this? How did you choose your particular denomination and interpretation?

7) Deep down, do you mostly go to church because "other good people do," and you like the socialization it provides?

8) Do you really think me and my wife, and my little kids are going to burn...forrrrr eternity...in Hell? Seriously? (note: if answer is "yes," friendship is obviously severed..this has actually happened).

9) Do you think there might be a sliiiight chance that religions have been used to keep people in place, explain things that couldn't be understood at the time, placate people from their sometimes miserable lots in life (slaves, second class citizens including women for most of history) by promising a "perfect afterlife,"  and to consolidate power?

10) Name ONE moral virtue taught in the Bible that is exclusive to the Bible. Surely this perfect map has some unique wisdom found nowhere else.


I could go on and on, but I've rambled too much. Do other atheists have similar feelings? Do you use any particular techniques to either bite your tongue, or to gently introduce any of these questions? Are some of you folks in the "I just don't think about religion at all" camp?

I wish I could get there, I really do, but with people constantly injecting religion (almost always Christianity) into school board decisions, and in legislatures, and pretty much trying to make rules based on their specific religious beliefs, I'm not sure how any atheist in America who values reason and science can mentally (or financially) bow out of this conflict.

I'm not religious, but I have to ask, WHY would you feel the need to say any of that to a religious person?

Saying any one of those things to a religious person would be just as assholish as them trying to turn you Catholic.  Do you really want to be that guy?

I would recommend attempting to respect their views first, even if you have don't agree with their conclusions.  If you start from a place of respect, you'll find it's a lot easier for them to respect your views as well.

If respecting their views and value as a human being is too much (it's okay, some people are hardwired this way), then you have a choice to either keep your mouth shut, or to not associate with people of differing views.

Nick_Miller

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #113 on: December 27, 2018, 11:58:48 AM »

Things I can't say to my religious friends...

1) You realize that mythologies used to be religions, right?  People used to worship Thor. Now he's an Avenger.

2) You realize there have been like thousands of religions? Doesn't that tell you something?

3) Do you think you'd become a heathen ax murderer if you deconverted today? If not, doesn't that tell you something?

4) When you say that you "talk with God," or that "God talked to me," WTF do you mean? Did you hear an actual voice, or did you think to yourself?

5) If God is all-knowing, meaning he knows every decision we will ever make before we make it, how do we still have free will? We would just be programmed puppets. For example, let's say God talks to me on Saturday. I ask, "God, what tie will I wear tomorrow?" God says, "You will wear a yellow tie." Flash forward to Sunday. I look in my closet and choose a tie out of the dozens I have in all sorts of colors. Can I pick a non-yellow tie? Why or why not?"

6) Have you read the whole Bible? Do you realize there are hundreds of editions and that the text is actually different and that different churches "interpret" the word differently? How can a perfect road map be so vague and nebulous, with so many internal inconsistencies? Doesn't it worry you that you are basing your worldview on this? How did you choose your particular denomination and interpretation?

7) Deep down, do you mostly go to church because "other good people do," and you like the socialization it provides?

8) Do you really think me and my wife, and my little kids are going to burn...forrrrr eternity...in Hell? Seriously? (note: if answer is "yes," friendship is obviously severed..this has actually happened).

9) Do you think there might be a sliiiight chance that religions have been used to keep people in place, explain things that couldn't be understood at the time, placate people from their sometimes miserable lots in life (slaves, second class citizens including women for most of history) by promising a "perfect afterlife,"  and to consolidate power?

10) Name ONE moral virtue taught in the Bible that is exclusive to the Bible. Surely this perfect map has some unique wisdom found nowhere else.


I could go on and on, but I've rambled too much. Do other atheists have similar feelings? Do you use any particular techniques to either bite your tongue, or to gently introduce any of these questions? Are some of you folks in the "I just don't think about religion at all" camp?

I wish I could get there, I really do, but with people constantly injecting religion (almost always Christianity) into school board decisions, and in legislatures, and pretty much trying to make rules based on their specific religious beliefs, I'm not sure how any atheist in America who values reason and science can mentally (or financially) bow out of this conflict.

I'm not religious, but I have to ask, WHY would you feel the need to say any of that to a religious person?

Saying any one of those things to a religious person would be just as assholish as them trying to turn you Catholic.  Do you really want to be that guy?

I would recommend attempting to respect their views first, even if you have don't agree with their conclusions.  If you start from a place of respect, you'll find it's a lot easier for them to respect your views as well.

If respecting their views and value as a human being is too much (it's okay, some people are hardwired this way), then you have a choice to either keep your mouth shut, or to not associate with people of differing views.

Did you read the other posts? I know it's a lot, but I explain a lot in other posts.

But long story short, we just disagree. You are equating belief and non-belief as equally valid. They are not, IMO. One makes extraordinary claims and requires extraordinary evidence. The other simply asks for that extraordinary evidence and points out the lack thereof.

And I've addressed this (many times) before, but WHY do I need to "respect" their views when their views are based on ancient myths, impossibilities, and internal inconsistencies? I'm not being sarcastic when I ask this, I promise. I am just trying to understand better. What makes their views worthy of respect when they make no sense? The mere fact that they hold those views?  So no matter what someone thinks, as long as they legitimately believe it, we can never call it out?

Blueberries

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #114 on: December 27, 2018, 11:59:48 AM »

So when you are like me and you basically view the majority of people as being brainwashed into cults, no you do not view that as a normal or good thing. You try to figure out how to unbrainwash them, but it's a really f'ing difficult thing to do, or else someone would have done it by now.

People do not change their beliefs unless they want to.  Changing beliefs takes a willingness and desire to change.  That doesn't just extend to religion, it relates to nearly any belief you have.  Fear of dogs?  Fear of spiders?  Fear of snakes?  Even things like losing weight are almost always tied to your beliefs. 

As an adult looking back on what I learned as a young child, the experience seems tailored to brainwashing young children.  I can't tell you the number of bonfires I went to where the sole purpose was to instill fear in me that if I did not follow, the heat from the bonfire would not even come close to the pain and heat I would experience as I burned in hell.  For eternity.  I was probably 6 or 7 when that started.  That's just one example.

People believe for a number of reasons and provided they are respectful, it shouldn't bother you.  For those who were born into it, they don't believe because they are idiots; some of them believe because the people they trusted most in the world (parents) taught them this.  The parents believed they were doing the right thing.  And, everything they learned until the age of 18-22 reinforced their beliefs.  Those children will grow up going to church a few days a week and they will attend religious school five days a week where these ideas are reinforced until they are 18.  They will be pushed to attend certain religious institutions (i.e. Bob Jones University, Brigham Young, etc.) and they will mingle with others who believe the same things they do.  They will marry one of those people and have 2.3 children where the cycle will repeat itself.  They were born into it; they didn't ask for it.

Nick_Miller

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #115 on: December 27, 2018, 12:50:30 PM »

So when you are like me and you basically view the majority of people as being brainwashed into cults, no you do not view that as a normal or good thing. You try to figure out how to unbrainwash them, but it's a really f'ing difficult thing to do, or else someone would have done it by now.

People do not change their beliefs unless they want to.  Changing beliefs takes a willingness and desire to change.  That doesn't just extend to religion, it relates to nearly any belief you have.  Fear of dogs?  Fear of spiders?  Fear of snakes?  Even things like losing weight are almost always tied to your beliefs. 

As an adult looking back on what I learned as a young child, the experience seems tailored to brainwashing young children.  I can't tell you the number of bonfires I went to where the sole purpose was to instill fear in me that if I did not follow, the heat from the bonfire would not even come close to the pain and heat I would experience as I burned in hell.  For eternity.  I was probably 6 or 7 when that started.  That's just one example.

People believe for a number of reasons and provided they are respectful, it shouldn't bother you.  For those who were born into it, they don't believe because they are idiots; some of them believe because the people they trusted most in the world (parents) taught them this.  The parents believed they were doing the right thing.  And, everything they learned until the age of 18-22 reinforced their beliefs.  Those children will grow up going to church a few days a week and they will attend religious school five days a week where these ideas are reinforced until they are 18.  They will be pushed to attend certain religious institutions (i.e. Bob Jones University, Brigham Young, etc.) and they will mingle with others who believe the same things they do.  They will marry one of those people and have 2.3 children where the cycle will repeat itself.  They were born into it; they didn't ask for it.

I think we agree on pretty most of this. I understand that the cycle repeats over and over. I get that. Once in a while someone escapes the cycle, but then I'm sure some atheists lose their children to religion (this would personally kill me, but it is what it is).

But I don't get the "It shouldn't bother you" comment. Yes it bothers me because...

1) Many of these people inject their beliefs into government. That is unacceptable and MUST be countered.

2) It is not healthy for people to function under delusions. It's just not. I mean, when does "crazy" start? If I said I had invisible unicorns in my yard wouldn't you be concerned about me?

3) These people keep trying to win MORE and MORE converts to their crazy. Hell, they go to foreign countries and try to inject their crazy into societies who don't want it.

My counter is, why doesn't any of the above bother you?? I mean, you even seem to agree that it brainwashes children. When is brainwashing EVER a good thing , or something not to be worried about?
« Last Edit: December 27, 2018, 12:57:15 PM by Nick_Miller »

wenchsenior

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #116 on: December 27, 2018, 12:55:03 PM »

Things I can't say to my religious friends...

1) You realize that mythologies used to be religions, right?  People used to worship Thor. Now he's an Avenger.

2) You realize there have been like thousands of religions? Doesn't that tell you something?

3) Do you think you'd become a heathen ax murderer if you deconverted today? If not, doesn't that tell you something?

4) When you say that you "talk with God," or that "God talked to me," WTF do you mean? Did you hear an actual voice, or did you think to yourself?

5) If God is all-knowing, meaning he knows every decision we will ever make before we make it, how do we still have free will? We would just be programmed puppets. For example, let's say God talks to me on Saturday. I ask, "God, what tie will I wear tomorrow?" God says, "You will wear a yellow tie." Flash forward to Sunday. I look in my closet and choose a tie out of the dozens I have in all sorts of colors. Can I pick a non-yellow tie? Why or why not?"

6) Have you read the whole Bible? Do you realize there are hundreds of editions and that the text is actually different and that different churches "interpret" the word differently? How can a perfect road map be so vague and nebulous, with so many internal inconsistencies? Doesn't it worry you that you are basing your worldview on this? How did you choose your particular denomination and interpretation?

7) Deep down, do you mostly go to church because "other good people do," and you like the socialization it provides?

8) Do you really think me and my wife, and my little kids are going to burn...forrrrr eternity...in Hell? Seriously? (note: if answer is "yes," friendship is obviously severed..this has actually happened).

9) Do you think there might be a sliiiight chance that religions have been used to keep people in place, explain things that couldn't be understood at the time, placate people from their sometimes miserable lots in life (slaves, second class citizens including women for most of history) by promising a "perfect afterlife,"  and to consolidate power?

10) Name ONE moral virtue taught in the Bible that is exclusive to the Bible. Surely this perfect map has some unique wisdom found nowhere else.


I could go on and on, but I've rambled too much. Do other atheists have similar feelings? Do you use any particular techniques to either bite your tongue, or to gently introduce any of these questions? Are some of you folks in the "I just don't think about religion at all" camp?

I wish I could get there, I really do, but with people constantly injecting religion (almost always Christianity) into school board decisions, and in legislatures, and pretty much trying to make rules based on their specific religious beliefs, I'm not sure how any atheist in America who values reason and science can mentally (or financially) bow out of this conflict.

I'm not religious, but I have to ask, WHY would you feel the need to say any of that to a religious person?

Saying any one of those things to a religious person would be just as assholish as them trying to turn you Catholic.  Do you really want to be that guy?

I would recommend attempting to respect their views first, even if you have don't agree with their conclusions.  If you start from a place of respect, you'll find it's a lot easier for them to respect your views as well.

If respecting their views and value as a human being is too much (it's okay, some people are hardwired this way), then you have a choice to either keep your mouth shut, or to not associate with people of differing views.

Did you read the other posts? I know it's a lot, but I explain a lot in other posts.

But long story short, we just disagree. You are equating belief and non-belief as equally valid. They are not, IMO. One makes extraordinary claims and requires extraordinary evidence. The other simply asks for that extraordinary evidence and points out the lack thereof.

And I've addressed this (many times) before, but WHY do I need to "respect" their views when their views are based on ancient myths, impossibilities, and internal inconsistencies? I'm not being sarcastic when I ask this, I promise. I am just trying to understand better. What makes their views worthy of respect when they make no sense? The mere fact that they hold those views?  So no matter what someone thinks, as long as they legitimately believe it, we can never call it out?

Some of the difficulty here might be figuring out how different posters are using the word 'respect' and how to put your reaction to religion (specifically a fairly fundamentalist Christianity) in a broader context of your reactions to ALL SORTS of peoples' beliefs, opinions, and actions.  What about peoples' political beliefs (often not subject to evidence-based thinking)?  What about their eating behaviors (vegan vs not)? What about their consumer habits or environmental practices?  Personally, I find DOZENS OF KINDS of beliefs and behaviors that people hold or do to be stupid, dangerous, repugnant, or generally socially counterproductive (including a few behaviors that I do even though I 1) know better, and 2) try not to).  So in one specific sense, I'm like you.  I don't respect many of these beliefs or actions at all and no one is ever going to convince me to do so with pablum about how we should 'respect peoples' choices'.

HOWEVER, there are a lot of ways/areas in which I can and do 'respect' such people.

I do support free speech, so I think people should be able to espouse any belief they want, within legal limits relating to direct harm of others.  I think a lot of people are stupid and uneducated and probably shouldn't be voting, but I respect and strongly support their right to vote anyway.  I respect peoples' right to go through their days mostly free from random harassment, so I generally try not to deliberately pick fights or comment derisively about things I vehemently disagree with. I truly empathize with the fact that people gotta get through the dark nights somehow (including me), and some beliefs/behaviors that I think are dumb help them do that.  I also recognize that, for all the harm that magical thinking does to society, there are still some social and personal benefits to believing/doing some of things I find laughable.  E.g., there are even a few ways that I specifically recognize my own life would be better and happier if I were a religious believer, so I try to absorb and learn from the areas of religious belief/behavior that I admire. 

In other words, I find that often I can respect and admire some individual actions or character traits possessed by people that ALSO do/believe things that I don't 'respect'.  Etc.

In that regard, my 'respect' for religious people is no difference than my respect for people in general, or even myself. I try not throw all concept of a person's worth out just b/c I disagree with some of their beliefs or actions.  It's sometimes a struggle, and I have some limits, but of course all human interaction is kind of a struggle in that way.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2018, 12:56:46 PM by wenchsenior »

honeybbq

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...
« Reply #117 on: December 27, 2018, 12:57:05 PM »


My son's cancer reinforced my atheism. 

Cindy, glad your son is doing well.

I work in the cancer field so I see this every day. As an athiest, the "God has a plan" and "it's God's will" infuriates me beyond belief. Enrages me that something as destructive and unstoppable as cancer gets a pass. "I'll pray for you" doesn't do shit. Why don't you cook a meal or scrub a toilet for someone who has cancer? Or their family? The unfairness of cancer is so hard to see day in and day out. But then, I see after the person's passing that they have more relief... "They are with God now". They will see their loved ones again in Heaven. Religion and belief give them something that I don't have. Something to hold on to. Sometimes I'm jealous of this rationalization. I'm definitely jealous of the ideas of the afterlife, and seeing the people you love again- healthy, happy, in another time and place.

Me, I just know that dead is dead and it takes courage and bravery to face that the end of our existence is near... There is no going back, there is no second chances, and there are no more goodbyes.

Be present, love hard the people that you love, and do not go quietly into that goodnight.

« Last Edit: December 27, 2018, 12:58:54 PM by honeybbq »

Blueberries

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #118 on: December 27, 2018, 02:09:34 PM »

So when you are like me and you basically view the majority of people as being brainwashed into cults, no you do not view that as a normal or good thing. You try to figure out how to unbrainwash them, but it's a really f'ing difficult thing to do, or else someone would have done it by now.

People do not change their beliefs unless they want to.  Changing beliefs takes a willingness and desire to change.  That doesn't just extend to religion, it relates to nearly any belief you have.  Fear of dogs?  Fear of spiders?  Fear of snakes?  Even things like losing weight are almost always tied to your beliefs. 

As an adult looking back on what I learned as a young child, the experience seems tailored to brainwashing young children.  I can't tell you the number of bonfires I went to where the sole purpose was to instill fear in me that if I did not follow, the heat from the bonfire would not even come close to the pain and heat I would experience as I burned in hell.  For eternity.  I was probably 6 or 7 when that started.  That's just one example.

People believe for a number of reasons and provided they are respectful, it shouldn't bother you.  For those who were born into it, they don't believe because they are idiots; some of them believe because the people they trusted most in the world (parents) taught them this.  The parents believed they were doing the right thing.  And, everything they learned until the age of 18-22 reinforced their beliefs.  Those children will grow up going to church a few days a week and they will attend religious school five days a week where these ideas are reinforced until they are 18.  They will be pushed to attend certain religious institutions (i.e. Bob Jones University, Brigham Young, etc.) and they will mingle with others who believe the same things they do.  They will marry one of those people and have 2.3 children where the cycle will repeat itself.  They were born into it; they didn't ask for it.

I think we agree on pretty most of this. I understand that the cycle repeats over and over. I get that. Once in a while someone escapes the cycle, but then I'm sure some atheists lose their children to religion (this would personally kill me, but it is what it is).

But I don't get the "It shouldn't bother you" comment. Yes it bothers me because...

1) Many of these people inject their beliefs into government. That is unacceptable and MUST be countered.

2) It is not healthy for people to function under delusions. It's just not. I mean, when does "crazy" start? If I said I had invisible unicorns in my yard wouldn't you be concerned about me?

3) These people keep trying to win MORE and MORE converts to their crazy. Hell, they go to foreign countries and try to inject their crazy into societies who don't want it.

My counter is, why doesn't any of the above bother you??

I don't typically like to get involved in discussions like this for a number of reasons.  But, I'll answer your sincere question as I'm hoping you're genuinely interested in hearing opinions that may differ from yours.  My statement, "People believe for a number of reasons and provided they are respectful, it shouldn't bother you" means this:  I'm not suggesting what people do with their beliefs shouldn't bother you (#1), I'm suggesting the idea that they believe shouldn't bother you.  I want to make sure I'm clear on that. 

I think all of your points basically point to a frustration with #1.  And, I, too, am bothered by religion being injected into the government, no matter the religion.  For those who are bothered by it, I urge them to get involved in politics and if they are already involved and still dissatisfied, do more.  Your time will be better spent getting involved, or getting more involved, rather than taking issue with the believer.  This goes back to the idea that you are very unlikely to change someone's belief unless they are willing and determined to do so.

As for #2, here is my take:  the definition of delusion is "an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument, typically a symptom of mental disorder".  I more or less disagree with your use of the word delusion in this context.  I understand you view it as a delusion, but that's subjective and I think there are more appropriate terms with less flair.  Unless your belief in invisible unicorns impacted me (#1), it wouldn't bother me.  When your belief in unicorns impacted my rights (#1), I would get involved as previously stated.  This isn't to say I am not concerned about my fellow man, but realistically, we all make choices that aren't the best for our health and who is to say what the standard should be? 

Overall, I think your main concern with #2 is really #1 unless you're regularly in the habit of talking to people about how bad meat is for them and the environment, how smoking will kill them, how they shouldn't be eating that cookie because the sugar is bad for them, etc.  This isn't really an issue of their health, it's really an issue of these people taking their beliefs and injecting them into the government.  Again, a valid concern, but I don't view the solution as telling them they are delusional and wrong. 

As for #3, again, this only impacts you if you are concerned about #1.  I urge you to be open-minded, flexible, and to view some data.  Most of the people causing #1 are the people who are fundamentalists and more extreme Christian sects.  Those people are the minority (1).  If you look at those extreme groups, their numbers are decreasing*(2) and overall, church attendance is dwindling (3) which is an important aspect of it because of the community and group think that occurs.

Humans and the world are constantly evolving, changing, and growing.  If you look at how the world once was, at any point in history, there is no denying that we are progressing (some people and countries faster than others).  If you look at how faith has shaped the U.S., you will see the immense progress that has been made.  It may not be fast enough for you, but there is no denying that this shift has taken place. 

My main thought is that you risk alienating people when you put them down under the guise of wanting to help them.  I would urge you to be a little more flexible in your thinking and approach. 

1:  http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/11/09/how-the-faithful-voted-a-preliminary-2016-analysis/ and http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/11/07/how-religious-groups-voted-in-the-midterm-elections/

2:  https://news.gallup.com/poll/210704/record-few-americans-believe-bible-literal-word-god.aspx

*Initially said dwindling, which was hyperbolic.  Decreasing is more appropriate.

3:  http://www.pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study/attendance-at-religious-services/ and
« Last Edit: December 27, 2018, 02:22:22 PM by Blueberries »

Johnez

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #119 on: December 27, 2018, 02:29:27 PM »
Seeing as this thread is an atheist thread now, my fellow non-believers, how do you feel about determinism versus free will? I'm firmly in the camp that everything that ever happened and will ever happen is set in the proverbial stone, and free will an illusion. I believed this as a Christian as well, but as an atheist makes even more sense to me. Every decision ever made in an act of "will" can be traced to things totally out of our control, from our genes, to the parents raising us, to the TV, to the time and age we were born into, and various other factors. Taken to extremes, this belief might come to many unpleasant conclusions (think criminals and punishment), but also some pleasant ones as well (thinking about risk taking). Whatever happens was meant to be.

I know I'm not articulating this perfectly, but I'm curious if anyone feels similar.

NorCal

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #120 on: December 27, 2018, 02:37:01 PM »

Things I can't say to my religious friends...

1) You realize that mythologies used to be religions, right?  People used to worship Thor. Now he's an Avenger.

2) You realize there have been like thousands of religions? Doesn't that tell you something?

3) Do you think you'd become a heathen ax murderer if you deconverted today? If not, doesn't that tell you something?

4) When you say that you "talk with God," or that "God talked to me," WTF do you mean? Did you hear an actual voice, or did you think to yourself?

5) If God is all-knowing, meaning he knows every decision we will ever make before we make it, how do we still have free will? We would just be programmed puppets. For example, let's say God talks to me on Saturday. I ask, "God, what tie will I wear tomorrow?" God says, "You will wear a yellow tie." Flash forward to Sunday. I look in my closet and choose a tie out of the dozens I have in all sorts of colors. Can I pick a non-yellow tie? Why or why not?"

6) Have you read the whole Bible? Do you realize there are hundreds of editions and that the text is actually different and that different churches "interpret" the word differently? How can a perfect road map be so vague and nebulous, with so many internal inconsistencies? Doesn't it worry you that you are basing your worldview on this? How did you choose your particular denomination and interpretation?

7) Deep down, do you mostly go to church because "other good people do," and you like the socialization it provides?

8) Do you really think me and my wife, and my little kids are going to burn...forrrrr eternity...in Hell? Seriously? (note: if answer is "yes," friendship is obviously severed..this has actually happened).

9) Do you think there might be a sliiiight chance that religions have been used to keep people in place, explain things that couldn't be understood at the time, placate people from their sometimes miserable lots in life (slaves, second class citizens including women for most of history) by promising a "perfect afterlife,"  and to consolidate power?

10) Name ONE moral virtue taught in the Bible that is exclusive to the Bible. Surely this perfect map has some unique wisdom found nowhere else.


I could go on and on, but I've rambled too much. Do other atheists have similar feelings? Do you use any particular techniques to either bite your tongue, or to gently introduce any of these questions? Are some of you folks in the "I just don't think about religion at all" camp?

I wish I could get there, I really do, but with people constantly injecting religion (almost always Christianity) into school board decisions, and in legislatures, and pretty much trying to make rules based on their specific religious beliefs, I'm not sure how any atheist in America who values reason and science can mentally (or financially) bow out of this conflict.

I'm not religious, but I have to ask, WHY would you feel the need to say any of that to a religious person?

Saying any one of those things to a religious person would be just as assholish as them trying to turn you Catholic.  Do you really want to be that guy?

I would recommend attempting to respect their views first, even if you have don't agree with their conclusions.  If you start from a place of respect, you'll find it's a lot easier for them to respect your views as well.

If respecting their views and value as a human being is too much (it's okay, some people are hardwired this way), then you have a choice to either keep your mouth shut, or to not associate with people of differing views.

Did you read the other posts? I know it's a lot, but I explain a lot in other posts.

But long story short, we just disagree. You are equating belief and non-belief as equally valid. They are not, IMO. One makes extraordinary claims and requires extraordinary evidence. The other simply asks for that extraordinary evidence and points out the lack thereof.

And I've addressed this (many times) before, but WHY do I need to "respect" their views when their views are based on ancient myths, impossibilities, and internal inconsistencies? I'm not being sarcastic when I ask this, I promise. I am just trying to understand better. What makes their views worthy of respect when they make no sense? The mere fact that they hold those views?  So no matter what someone thinks, as long as they legitimately believe it, we can never call it out?

Some of the difficulty here might be figuring out how different posters are using the word 'respect' and how to put your reaction to religion (specifically a fairly fundamentalist Christianity) in a broader context of your reactions to ALL SORTS of peoples' beliefs, opinions, and actions.  What about peoples' political beliefs (often not subject to evidence-based thinking)?  What about their eating behaviors (vegan vs not)? What about their consumer habits or environmental practices?  Personally, I find DOZENS OF KINDS of beliefs and behaviors that people hold or do to be stupid, dangerous, repugnant, or generally socially counterproductive (including a few behaviors that I do even though I 1) know better, and 2) try not to).  So in one specific sense, I'm like you.  I don't respect many of these beliefs or actions at all and no one is ever going to convince me to do so with pablum about how we should 'respect peoples' choices'.

HOWEVER, there are a lot of ways/areas in which I can and do 'respect' such people.

I do support free speech, so I think people should be able to espouse any belief they want, within legal limits relating to direct harm of others.  I think a lot of people are stupid and uneducated and probably shouldn't be voting, but I respect and strongly support their right to vote anyway.  I respect peoples' right to go through their days mostly free from random harassment, so I generally try not to deliberately pick fights or comment derisively about things I vehemently disagree with. I truly empathize with the fact that people gotta get through the dark nights somehow (including me), and some beliefs/behaviors that I think are dumb help them do that.  I also recognize that, for all the harm that magical thinking does to society, there are still some social and personal benefits to believing/doing some of things I find laughable.  E.g., there are even a few ways that I specifically recognize my own life would be better and happier if I were a religious believer, so I try to absorb and learn from the areas of religious belief/behavior that I admire. 

In other words, I find that often I can respect and admire some individual actions or character traits possessed by people that ALSO do/believe things that I don't 'respect'.  Etc.

In that regard, my 'respect' for religious people is no difference than my respect for people in general, or even myself. I try not throw all concept of a person's worth out just b/c I disagree with some of their beliefs or actions.  It's sometimes a struggle, and I have some limits, but of course all human interaction is kind of a struggle in that way.

I guess I feel like you're making it more complicated than it needs to be.  Either you find positive value in your relationships with people of faith, or you don't.  If you can't interact with the religious without getting judgy and and urgent need to say something offensive, then you should probably just cut those relationships off.

More to the point, why does it matter to you what other people believe?

For me personally, many of my best friends are people that have views I strongly disagree with and sometimes find offensive.  This works for me because I don't feel the constant need to prove I'm right and they're wrong.  You'll be much happier if you limit your circle of friends to those you agree with if you can't find a way to do this yourself.

PS. I freely admit I am too lazy to read the whole thread.  Just saying my piece.

mspym

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #121 on: December 27, 2018, 03:16:10 PM »
I am atheist/agnostic/indifferent to religion on a personal basis. My dad is a minister and I do not think any of my siblings believe in god and it is just not a thing. I am very interested in it from sociological and historical basis because it is one of the tools that people have used to explain the universe, understand mysteries, and expand the definition of "us" past the natural limit of 150-200 people and enable the building of civilisations. Belief is a force in human culture and you can either judge it and hold yourself apart and superior to it or you can seek to understand what purpose it serves.

Possibly part of the issue is militant evangelicalism as a force in American political culture because from the other side of the world, your experience of religion is just not the religious culture in other places.*

*in the last census >50% of the population was non-religious.

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #122 on: December 27, 2018, 03:24:05 PM »
I think all of your points basically point to a frustration with #1.  And, I, too, am bothered by religion being injected into the government, no matter the religion.

I agree, it sounds like this is ultimately your grievance, which is a reasonable one, imo.  I'm curious how you feel about the devout (NOT evangelical) Christians who vote for things like legalization of gay marriage, even though they think it's a sin, because they feel everyone is free to make their own decisions.  The Christians you'd never know were religious because to them it's a personal matter, and it's not something that would come up in normal conversation.  I ask because I would say these are the majority.  It's the minority that are loud and causing a ruckus and voting to hold down and oppress people who are 'different' from them.  Those are the ones you hear about in the news.

For the ones whose religion doesn't effect others, does it really matter what they believe?  If someone literally believed in the flying spaghetti monster, and it didn't effect anyone, would you care?  If so, why?

DreamFIRE

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #123 on: December 27, 2018, 03:41:35 PM »
Seeing as this thread is an atheist thread now, my fellow non-believers, how do you feel about determinism versus free will? I'm firmly in the camp that everything that ever happened and will ever happen is set in the proverbial stone, and free will an illusion. I believed this as a Christian as well, but as an atheist makes even more sense to me. Every decision ever made in an act of "will" can be traced to things totally out of our control, from our genes, to the parents raising us, to the TV, to the time and age we were born into, and various other factors. Taken to extremes, this belief might come to many unpleasant conclusions (think criminals and punishment), but also some pleasant ones as well (thinking about risk taking). Whatever happens was meant to be.

I know I'm not articulating this perfectly, but I'm curious if anyone feels similar.

Yeah, someone brought this up to me years ago, and I still think about it from time to time.  Also, on that note, nothing is truly "random".

wenchsenior

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #124 on: December 27, 2018, 04:30:53 PM »

Things I can't say to my religious friends...

1) You realize that mythologies used to be religions, right?  People used to worship Thor. Now he's an Avenger.

2) You realize there have been like thousands of religions? Doesn't that tell you something?

3) Do you think you'd become a heathen ax murderer if you deconverted today? If not, doesn't that tell you something?

4) When you say that you "talk with God," or that "God talked to me," WTF do you mean? Did you hear an actual voice, or did you think to yourself?

5) If God is all-knowing, meaning he knows every decision we will ever make before we make it, how do we still have free will? We would just be programmed puppets. For example, let's say God talks to me on Saturday. I ask, "God, what tie will I wear tomorrow?" God says, "You will wear a yellow tie." Flash forward to Sunday. I look in my closet and choose a tie out of the dozens I have in all sorts of colors. Can I pick a non-yellow tie? Why or why not?"

6) Have you read the whole Bible? Do you realize there are hundreds of editions and that the text is actually different and that different churches "interpret" the word differently? How can a perfect road map be so vague and nebulous, with so many internal inconsistencies? Doesn't it worry you that you are basing your worldview on this? How did you choose your particular denomination and interpretation?

7) Deep down, do you mostly go to church because "other good people do," and you like the socialization it provides?

8) Do you really think me and my wife, and my little kids are going to burn...forrrrr eternity...in Hell? Seriously? (note: if answer is "yes," friendship is obviously severed..this has actually happened).

9) Do you think there might be a sliiiight chance that religions have been used to keep people in place, explain things that couldn't be understood at the time, placate people from their sometimes miserable lots in life (slaves, second class citizens including women for most of history) by promising a "perfect afterlife,"  and to consolidate power?

10) Name ONE moral virtue taught in the Bible that is exclusive to the Bible. Surely this perfect map has some unique wisdom found nowhere else.


I could go on and on, but I've rambled too much. Do other atheists have similar feelings? Do you use any particular techniques to either bite your tongue, or to gently introduce any of these questions? Are some of you folks in the "I just don't think about religion at all" camp?

I wish I could get there, I really do, but with people constantly injecting religion (almost always Christianity) into school board decisions, and in legislatures, and pretty much trying to make rules based on their specific religious beliefs, I'm not sure how any atheist in America who values reason and science can mentally (or financially) bow out of this conflict.

I'm not religious, but I have to ask, WHY would you feel the need to say any of that to a religious person?

Saying any one of those things to a religious person would be just as assholish as them trying to turn you Catholic.  Do you really want to be that guy?

I would recommend attempting to respect their views first, even if you have don't agree with their conclusions.  If you start from a place of respect, you'll find it's a lot easier for them to respect your views as well.

If respecting their views and value as a human being is too much (it's okay, some people are hardwired this way), then you have a choice to either keep your mouth shut, or to not associate with people of differing views.

Did you read the other posts? I know it's a lot, but I explain a lot in other posts.

But long story short, we just disagree. You are equating belief and non-belief as equally valid. They are not, IMO. One makes extraordinary claims and requires extraordinary evidence. The other simply asks for that extraordinary evidence and points out the lack thereof.

And I've addressed this (many times) before, but WHY do I need to "respect" their views when their views are based on ancient myths, impossibilities, and internal inconsistencies? I'm not being sarcastic when I ask this, I promise. I am just trying to understand better. What makes their views worthy of respect when they make no sense? The mere fact that they hold those views?  So no matter what someone thinks, as long as they legitimately believe it, we can never call it out?

Some of the difficulty here might be figuring out how different posters are using the word 'respect' and how to put your reaction to religion (specifically a fairly fundamentalist Christianity) in a broader context of your reactions to ALL SORTS of peoples' beliefs, opinions, and actions.  What about peoples' political beliefs (often not subject to evidence-based thinking)?  What about their eating behaviors (vegan vs not)? What about their consumer habits or environmental practices?  Personally, I find DOZENS OF KINDS of beliefs and behaviors that people hold or do to be stupid, dangerous, repugnant, or generally socially counterproductive (including a few behaviors that I do even though I 1) know better, and 2) try not to).  So in one specific sense, I'm like you.  I don't respect many of these beliefs or actions at all and no one is ever going to convince me to do so with pablum about how we should 'respect peoples' choices'.

HOWEVER, there are a lot of ways/areas in which I can and do 'respect' such people.

I do support free speech, so I think people should be able to espouse any belief they want, within legal limits relating to direct harm of others.  I think a lot of people are stupid and uneducated and probably shouldn't be voting, but I respect and strongly support their right to vote anyway.  I respect peoples' right to go through their days mostly free from random harassment, so I generally try not to deliberately pick fights or comment derisively about things I vehemently disagree with. I truly empathize with the fact that people gotta get through the dark nights somehow (including me), and some beliefs/behaviors that I think are dumb help them do that.  I also recognize that, for all the harm that magical thinking does to society, there are still some social and personal benefits to believing/doing some of things I find laughable.  E.g., there are even a few ways that I specifically recognize my own life would be better and happier if I were a religious believer, so I try to absorb and learn from the areas of religious belief/behavior that I admire. 

In other words, I find that often I can respect and admire some individual actions or character traits possessed by people that ALSO do/believe things that I don't 'respect'.  Etc.

In that regard, my 'respect' for religious people is no difference than my respect for people in general, or even myself. I try not throw all concept of a person's worth out just b/c I disagree with some of their beliefs or actions.  It's sometimes a struggle, and I have some limits, but of course all human interaction is kind of a struggle in that way.

I guess I feel like you're making it more complicated than it needs to be.  Either you find positive value in your relationships with people of faith, or you don't. If you can't interact with the religious without getting judgy and and urgent need to say something offensive, then you should probably just cut those relationships off.

More to the point, why does it matter to you what other people believe?


For me personally, many of my best friends are people that have views I strongly disagree with and sometimes find offensive.  This works for me because I don't feel the constant need to prove I'm right and they're wrong.  You'll be much happier if you limit your circle of friends to those you agree with if you can't find a way to do this yourself.

PS. I freely admit I am too lazy to read the whole thread.  Just saying my piece.

Point a...That's what my post said: it's not particularly complicated; it works more or less like all beliefs and values and how they affect relationships. I was pointing this out b/c the OP seemed to perhaps be categorizing religious beliefs and how they affect interactions as quite separate from others.  I'm not sure what you were interpreting my post to say.

Point b....well, this has all been discussed in multiple posts in this thread already, and the dividing line for most people in this thread seems to be they start caring what peoples' beliefs are when they directly affect them (e.g., in political decisions or life decisions that affect them).  If you are someone to whom other peoples' beliefs truly don't matter to you in relationships, I'm not sure what to think about that.  Perhaps you are an exceptional person, but I assume you draw the line SOMEWHERE in terms of conversing or socializing with people, which inherently involves judgement.  E.g., Presumably if your parents had disowned you for being gay, then their beliefs would in fact affect your view of them.  I doubt that you've never had a judgemental thought about an opinion or behavior of someone you like or love.  That would be normal, b/c after all, most people are fully capable of admiring some characteristics of people we know and not others, and everyone has things they can and cannot tolerate in relationships.  And nowhere did I advocate running around voicing judgemental thoughts aloud as a matter of course.

But generally, I agree with you.  Inter-personally, many beliefs I disagree with (including religious ones) don't affect my relationships that much.  Sometimes they do, but usually that is situation-specific (different morals re: approach to work, etc., might mean I don't want to work with someone, etc.).  But I definitely have lines. I have very different political beliefs from some family members, but talking a little bit of politics isn't a problem.  However, some of my family members are racist or sexist.  With those people, if they want to keep spouting racist or sexist bullshit in conversation with me, I would soon stop having conversations and close relationships with them. 

BicycleB

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #125 on: December 27, 2018, 05:19:00 PM »
Seeing as this thread is an atheist thread now, my fellow non-believers, how do you feel about determinism versus free will? I'm firmly in the camp that everything that ever happened and will ever happen is set in the proverbial stone, and free will an illusion. I believed this as a Christian as well, but as an atheist makes even more sense to me. Every decision ever made in an act of "will" can be traced to things totally out of our control, from our genes, to the parents raising us, to the TV, to the time and age we were born into, and various other factors. Taken to extremes, this belief might come to many unpleasant conclusions (think criminals and punishment), but also some pleasant ones as well (thinking about risk taking). Whatever happens was meant to be.

I know I'm not articulating this perfectly, but I'm curious if anyone feels similar.

I don't care much about determinism vs free will. I lean toward a three part mix: some general baseline determinism by culture, some inherent personality variance by genes, but a fair bit of free will on the individual level, especially within the bounds of the first two parts. You can make choices that affect yourself and others, etc.


1) Many of these people inject their beliefs into government. That is unacceptable and MUST be countered.

2) It is not healthy for people to function under delusions. It's just not. I mean, when does "crazy" start? If I said I had invisible unicorns in my yard wouldn't you be concerned about me?

3) These people keep trying to win MORE and MORE converts to their crazy. Hell, they go to foreign countries and try to inject their crazy into societies who don't want it.

My counter is, why doesn't any of the above bother you?? I mean, you even seem to agree that it brainwashes children. When is brainwashing EVER a good thing , or something not to be worried about?

1) Countering is fine. Counter away! I'd love it if you would focus on creating a commons acceptable to all, though, rather than trying to bludgeon religious people into abandoning their faith. A commons welcoming to all faith perspectives is thing of great societal value. You can defend that and get support from most Americans.

2) This is where I differ most, @Nick_Miller - respectfully and joyously, because anyone who cares about goodness and justice and healthy humans is my friend, and you clearly care about these. My view is that:

a. your passion and that of the determined evangelical seem to be two sides of the same coin. Specifically, they're expressions of a conception of goodness that developed about 500 years ago, in which the most important thing is truth, and it's very important that people believe what is true, and a good person has a duty to persuade others of the truth. Several centuries of wars were fought over this issue, killing millions. It is a known consequence of this high determination level that bad things can happen from good intentions, hence a live and let live approach is helpful. A gentle approach can good too - example, my story a few posts upthread.

b. There is such a thing as a paradigm. At least, paradigms seem to be a really accurate way of describing human viewpoints, where a paradigm is an overall viewpoint that starts from certain assumptions and then proceeds from there. No paradigm solves all problems, it can only solve some while accepting others. No paradigm can be proven to people who don't already accept its fundamental tenets. People who believe in different paradigms each usually think they can prove their view; the other person thinks they're crazy and wrong and their proof is foolish or makes no sense. Obviously militant atheism and fundamentalist religion are paradigms with contrary specifics. As an outsider, I note that both paradigms include the vehement proselytizing conception of goodness I tried to describe in part a, which is why I called them two sides of the same coin. In other words, to me you look just like your family does, you're in as evangelical a mode as they are; you've just shifted the specifics you want to convince others about. To answer directly: Yes, I'm concerned about you! You seem to be repeating some of the same mistakes that were done to you by others. Please don't be offended, I'm just offering my honest response to your question. I guess my own view could be called the paradigm of Mellow Atheist or Live and Let Live Atheist. If you wish to emerge from the set of oppressive  paradigms you still appear to be in, challenge yourself by reading Thomas Kuhn's book "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions."

3) True. Sometimes evangelists do a lot of good along the way. Sometimes their crusades, jihads and great leaps forward kill millions of people. I am personally acquainted with a budding evangelist from a country where Christians still get killed for their religion. I hope my acquaintance doesn't become a martyr, as I suspect he may (at some risk to his family of origin, I might add). Overall, I think that restraint is best, rather than angry-proselytizing-viewed-as-noble-action. Anything you can do to develop inner peace and establish relationships that don't require agreement on religious tenets would be a great contribution.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2018, 05:27:03 PM by BicycleB »

dustinst22

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #126 on: December 27, 2018, 05:31:26 PM »
You are equating belief and non-belief as equally valid.

No one is doing this, but you keep repeating it.  You might want to spend some time comprehending what people are saying.  Respecting someone and her beliefs is not the same as holding those beliefs as equally valid.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2018, 05:34:20 PM by dustinst22 »

DreamFIRE

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #127 on: December 27, 2018, 05:36:39 PM »
You are equating belief and non-belief as equally valid.

No one is doing this, but you keep repeating it.  You might want to spend some time comprehending what people are saying.  Respecting someone and her beliefs is not the same as holding those beliefs as equally valid.

Correct.  Or "his" beliefs, as well.

Nick_Miller

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #128 on: December 27, 2018, 05:44:40 PM »
You are equating belief and non-belief as equally valid.

No one is doing this, but you keep repeating it.  You might want to spend some time comprehending what people are saying.  Respecting someone and her beliefs is not the same as holding those beliefs as equally valid.

So when is it okay to not "respect" someone's beliefs? If someone thinks LGBTQ people are abominations, is it okay to not "respect" their beliefs? I have more to follow up with, but I will stop there and let you answer that specific question.

And I can comprehend just fine, pal! I have 3 semesters of law school and a zombie novel under my belt!

(*I am switching to IC Nick Miller mode to make sure we keep some levity as we discuss these issues and all remain friends)
« Last Edit: December 27, 2018, 05:51:31 PM by Nick_Miller »

dustinst22

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #129 on: December 27, 2018, 05:56:26 PM »
You're still missing the point.  Take some time to think it over.  Maybe look go get a refund on the law school.

MOD NOTE: Please don't be rude.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2018, 06:42:14 PM by ForumModerator »

Kris

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #130 on: December 27, 2018, 06:37:05 PM »
You're still missing the point.  Take some time to think it over.  Maybe look go get a refund on the law school.

Perhaps you could try to explain instead of being unkind.

Sailor Sam

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #131 on: December 27, 2018, 07:45:57 PM »
You are equating belief and non-belief as equally valid.

No one is doing this, but you keep repeating it.  You might want to spend some time comprehending what people are saying.  Respecting someone and her beliefs is not the same as holding those beliefs as equally valid.

So when is it okay to not "respect" someone's beliefs? If someone thinks LGBTQ people are abominations, is it okay to not "respect" their beliefs? I have more to follow up with, but I will stop there and let you answer that specific question.

And I can comprehend just fine, pal! I have 3 semesters of law school and a zombie novel under my belt!

(*I am switching to IC Nick Miller mode to make sure we keep some levity as we discuss these issues and all remain friends)

LGBTQ-type person, here. To answer your question: yes, it is correct for someone to think me an abomination, and to respect their belief. Allow me to elaborate.

Every adult has a deeply held theory of what they consider a good, prosperous, helpful, and overall moral society. Many adults fall into basic groups. Liberal. Conservative. Vegan. Christian. Such on, and so forth. What @Kris called a paradigm.

To the fundamentalist Christian, a good, prosperous, helpful, and overall moral society is predicated on the inerrant and infallible word of God, which is communicated through the bible. The bible has several critical passages that say homosexuality is a sin. Therefore, homosexuality is not part of a good, prosperous, helpful, and overall moral society, and must be suppressed. Suppressing homosexuality isn't done from a standpoint of hate; it's done from a standpoint of ensuring society remains moral. In my experience, many fundamentalist show a surprising amount of compassion, totally free of repugnance, towards an individual homosexual. They think my sexual desire an abomination, but believe I have a soul worth saving.

Such people are striving for a moral society, and I can fully respect that. We simply disagree on the definition of moral. Obviously I tend to believe that a good, prosperous, helpful, and overall moral society is based on acceptance of most things that fall under identity politics. I will, in fact, fight the fundamentalist idea of sexuality with every fiber of my being. But I can respect the consistency of thought and their desire for a moral society. It's the same desire I have.

lentil

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #132 on: December 27, 2018, 07:57:09 PM »
Quote
So when is it okay to not "respect" someone's beliefs? If someone thinks LGBTQ people are abominations, is it okay to not "respect" their beliefs? I have more to follow up with, but I will stop there and let you answer that specific question.

I think you are confusing values with the things from which we derive our values, beliefs, and principles (AKA epistemic principles).

The problem with thinking that LGBTQ people are "abominations" isn't that someone believes it for the wrong reasons. The problem is when that belief causes harm, it hurts real people. I believe it is wrong to hurt people, and evidently you do too; that is a value we share. But we might share that value, while basing it on entirely different epistemic principles. As long as we arrive at the same conclusion (that it's wrong to dehumanize any group of people), and are willing to stand up for people's rights, do the underlying epistemics honestly matter?

Moreover, if I say that it's wrong to cause harm to LGBTQ people, then I have to center that on the real, lived experiences & trauma of LGBTQ people. That tends to lead to better outcomes (in a whole variety of ways), and means that the entire discussion is centered on the real lives of the people who are most affected. If I center my arguments around the idea that theists are dumb & crazy...well, LGBTQ people barely even show up in that discussion, because it's all about abstract philosophy and the hurt feelings of theists (not to mention, plenty of theists are LGBTQ, and vice-versa). Not just ineffective, but actually contrary to my values around inclusion and basic justice.

TL/DR: I think you're asking all the wrong questions.

mrmoonymartian

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #133 on: December 27, 2018, 09:27:25 PM »
I think as a starting point we should acknowledge that dehumanizing aliens and robots is wrong, and that it's fine to hold and tongue religious friends if they consent to it.

jeninco

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #134 on: December 27, 2018, 09:34:59 PM »
I think as a starting point we should acknowledge that dehumanizing aliens and robots is wrong, and that it's fine to hold and tongue religious friends if they consent to it.

My guess is that most of my religious friends would not consent to being "tongued" by me.

Also, yuck. I am pickier then that.

SpeedReader

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #135 on: December 27, 2018, 10:29:06 PM »
I was raised Catholic but stopped going to church at 15.  I told my mother that not only wasn't I getting anything out of it, but I was probably ruining it for others because I wasn't paying attention and behaving respectfully.  Mom agreed that if I felt that way, I shouldn't go.  Out of habit I continued to identify as Catholic if asked. 

After college, one of my friends was sincerely worried for me after listening to her evangelical Christian neighbor proselytize that all Catholics were going to Hell.  I burst out laughing:  "Really?  Mother Teresa is going to Hell?  Your neighbor thinks she's holier than Mother Teresa?!"

tyort1

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #136 on: December 28, 2018, 12:10:09 AM »
Nick_Miller - Most of your posts feel like something I would write myself.  I was raised as a Lutheran, my family is from Texas; although I spent a lot of time in other places as an Air Force Brat. 

I became a full on atheist in college after trying (very hard) to connect with god during my youth and adolescence.  Only after the complete blank non-response of any kind from any type of higher power did I even begin to question anything.  BUT, once I did start questioning, boy oh boy did shit unravel, fast. 

Anyway, I "Came Out" to my parents as an atheist when I was 22.  Shock and sadness was the response.  Which I never understood.  Honestly, becoming an atheist felt oddly freeing. 

Best thing I ever did, move to Denver.  People just aren't very religious there, or at least are far less so than Texas, haha. 

I also agree that religious belief is harmful, and religious people don't see it, because they are in a position of privilege - their default beliefs are the social fabric we live in.  My best advice - whenever possible, speak up about not believing.  Don't be a dick about it.  But be firm and do not soft shoe it. 

I'm typing this now from my parents home in Texas.  It's my first time back in a while and being away from Christianity for so long really clarifies just how insane the actual beliefs are.  A dude rises from the dead?  A virgin gives birth?  God's perfect and perfectly good, yet there's evil in the world?  Matthew and Luke can't even agree on who Jesus' grandfather was (or the majority of his genealogy?).  The gospels weren't even written by the apostles but were some anonymous 3rd party that didn't even know Jesus directly?   Seriously, it's all just a bunch of gobbledygook.  But you have to be away from it for a bit before that comes into sharp focus.  Or at least I did. 

Here's the good news.  It's changing.  IME, religion is a tool that ancient man used to try to explain the world.  And for a long time it was better than anything else around.  But almost every "mystery" that religion tries to answer is now answered much better by science.  And that trend is accelerating.  Science is not a crude tool as someone else in this thread said.  Science is a wonderfully precise and self correcting way of understanding the world. 

It's helpful to have some science facts at your fingertips to share with believers whenever these discussions come up.  The universe is 14.6 billion years old.  The earth is 4.6 billion.  Single celled life started 3.6 billion years ago.  The first "Homo" species emerged about 2.8 million years ago.  Homo Sapiens between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago.  Farming a little more than 10,000 years ago.   Written language about 5000 years ago.  Judaism didn't even enter the picture until about 3800 years ago and Christianity is a total baby at 2000 years old.

We know all of these things because of science.  As an atheist, it's not enough to just be "against religion".  You must be "for" something.  It's your responsibility to have a positive, alternative world view that you can offer as a better option. 

Obviously don't be a jerk about it because that just turns people off.  But you're lucky that you have the facts on your side.  Present them.  Don't worry if people aren't immediately convinced.  That rarely happens.  Mostly you're just planting a seed that might bear fruit 3 years down the line (as another poster astutely pointed out). 
« Last Edit: December 28, 2018, 12:21:34 AM by tyort1 »

shelivesthedream

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #137 on: December 28, 2018, 12:56:32 AM »
So when is it okay to not "respect" someone's beliefs? If someone thinks LGBTQ people are abominations, is it okay to not "respect" their beliefs? I have more to follow up with, but I will stop there and let you answer that specific question.

I don't know if you saw my post upthread, #66, but this is exactly what I was talking about. You are conflating all Christians (of all denominations, apparently!) with the kind of obnoxious buttheads who are annoying you by being objectively obnoxious buttheads. Your problem is not "How do I deal with Christians?", it's "How do I deal with obnoxious buttheads?" To which the answer is basically that two wrongs don't make a right and you need to disengage and change the subject.

I agree with other posters that you don't seem to understand the way people are using the word "respect". In its simplest form, to respect someone's belief means to not be an obnoxious butthead about it. You can disagree fundamentally and completely with the belief that LGBT people are abominations while not being an obnoxious butthead about it. You don't have to ignore their expressed belief, or pretend you agree with it. You just have to not be an obnoxious butthead. It's ridiculous to try to fight fire with fire. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!

After college, one of my friends was sincerely worried for me after listening to her evangelical Christian neighbor proselytize that all Catholics were going to Hell.  I burst out laughing:  "Really?  Mother Teresa is going to Hell?  Your neighbor thinks she's holier than Mother Teresa?!"

Hah! Thanks for the laugh! :D

former player

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #138 on: December 28, 2018, 02:11:34 AM »
So when is it okay to not "respect" someone's beliefs? If someone thinks LGBTQ people are abominations, is it okay to not "respect" their beliefs? I have more to follow up with, but I will stop there and let you answer that specific question.

I don't know if you saw my post upthread, #66, but this is exactly what I was talking about. You are conflating all Christians (of all denominations, apparently!) with the kind of obnoxious buttheads who are annoying you by being objectively obnoxious buttheads. Your problem is not "How do I deal with Christians?", it's "How do I deal with obnoxious buttheads?" To which the answer is basically that two wrongs don't make a right and you need to disengage and change the subject.

I agree with other posters that you don't seem to understand the way people are using the word "respect". In its simplest form, to respect someone's belief means to not be an obnoxious butthead about it. You can disagree fundamentally and completely with the belief that LGBT people are abominations while not being an obnoxious butthead about it. You don't have to ignore their expressed belief, or pretend you agree with it. You just have to not be an obnoxious butthead. It's ridiculous to try to fight fire with fire. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!

After college, one of my friends was sincerely worried for me after listening to her evangelical Christian neighbor proselytize that all Catholics were going to Hell.  I burst out laughing:  "Really?  Mother Teresa is going to Hell?  Your neighbor thinks she's holier than Mother Teresa?!"

Hah! Thanks for the laugh! :D

I agree with shelivesthedream's prescription for how to act, but I think I'd call that good manners and/or good negotiating technique rather than "respect".
« Last Edit: December 28, 2018, 03:52:06 AM by former player »

shelivesthedream

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #139 on: December 28, 2018, 03:50:48 AM »
I would describe "respect" as having good internal manners as well as good external ones.

former player

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #140 on: December 28, 2018, 03:58:15 AM »
I would describe "respect" as having good internal manners as well as good external ones.

Yes, up to a point.  (And apologies for using the incorrect version of your screen name in my previous post.)

My external manners bow to necessity, to social niceties and to any desire I feel to persuade.  My internal ones do not.  If someone's religion disrespects one of my LGBTQ friends then I may show external good manners but my internal ones are for me alone and are not necessarily so constrained - after all, I have to show good manners to the rights of my LGTBQ friends as well and the two can be in conflict.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #141 on: December 28, 2018, 04:19:18 AM »
I would describe "respect" as having good internal manners as well as good external ones.

Yes, up to a point.  (And apologies for using the incorrect version of your screen name in my previous post.)

My external manners bow to necessity, to social niceties and to any desire I feel to persuade.  My internal ones do not.  If someone's religion disrespects one of my LGBTQ friends then I may show external good manners but my internal ones are for me alone and are not necessarily so constrained - after all, I have to show good manners to the rights of my LGTBQ friends as well and the two can be in conflict.

Supposing my views on the abomination status of LGBT people were in conflict with someone else's I could, internally, do two things:

1. Rage and scream and tantrum at the other person. Tear my hair out and tell them they were an ignorant asshole. Call them all kinds of names. Insist their entire worldview was stupid stupid stupid la la la la and pound my worldview into them with a fist.

2. Calmly explain that I disagree with them. Ask them to explain their worldview thoroughly. Listen silently. Explain my worldview thoroughly. Ask them to listen silently. Ask clarifying questions of each other. Explain, presumably, that I still disagree with them and would not like to hear their views in general conversation any longer. Decide whether to quietly spend less time with them if they can't be a grown up about it. This isn't a great way of explaining it, but its hard to put into words - respect is about tone.

One can do that internally as much as externally. That's respect. Of course those aren't literally the only courses of action, but they serve well to illustrate the two main intellectual and emotional courses of action available.

I know people in the UK whose relationships have broken up over Brexit. My friend asked me how I could stand to be married to someone who voted leave. The topic of Brexit comes up almost daily at the moment at some point. We really would struggle to escape it. Well, neither my husband nor I rage at each other for voting the wrong way. We don't call each other stupid. We don't speak to each other in a condescending tone. We speak respectfully to each other (even as he is pleased with the idea of a No Deal Brexit) and think respectfully about each other. Your thought become your words, etc etc. I make a great effort to use respectful vocabulary in my thoughts as well as my words. I guess I'd call that something like integrity, if you included actions as well.

englishteacheralex

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #142 on: December 28, 2018, 04:57:21 PM »
You are equating belief and non-belief as equally valid.

No one is doing this, but you keep repeating it.  You might want to spend some time comprehending what people are saying.  Respecting someone and her beliefs is not the same as holding those beliefs as equally valid.

So when is it okay to not "respect" someone's beliefs? If someone thinks LGBTQ people are abominations, is it okay to not "respect" their beliefs? I have more to follow up with, but I will stop there and let you answer that specific question.

And I can comprehend just fine, pal! I have 3 semesters of law school and a zombie novel under my belt!

(*I am switching to IC Nick Miller mode to make sure we keep some levity as we discuss these issues and all remain friends)

LGBTQ-type person, here. To answer your question: yes, it is correct for someone to think me an abomination, and to respect their belief. Allow me to elaborate.

Every adult has a deeply held theory of what they consider a good, prosperous, helpful, and overall moral society. Many adults fall into basic groups. Liberal. Conservative. Vegan. Christian. Such on, and so forth. What @Kris called a paradigm.

To the fundamentalist Christian, a good, prosperous, helpful, and overall moral society is predicated on the inerrant and infallible word of God, which is communicated through the bible. The bible has several critical passages that say homosexuality is a sin. Therefore, homosexuality is not part of a good, prosperous, helpful, and overall moral society, and must be suppressed. Suppressing homosexuality isn't done from a standpoint of hate; it's done from a standpoint of ensuring society remains moral. In my experience, many fundamentalist show a surprising amount of compassion, totally free of repugnance, towards an individual homosexual. They think my sexual desire an abomination, but believe I have a soul worth saving.

Such people are striving for a moral society, and I can fully respect that. We simply disagree on the definition of moral. Obviously I tend to believe that a good, prosperous, helpful, and overall moral society is based on acceptance of most things that fall under identity politics. I will, in fact, fight the fundamentalist idea of sexuality with every fiber of my being. But I can respect the consistency of thought and their desire for a moral society. It's the same desire I have.

Wow @Sailor Sam , that's pretty freakin' articulate.

Telecaster

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...
« Reply #143 on: December 28, 2018, 06:01:55 PM »
Most atheists I know in the US -- myself included -- grew up in households that were at least nominally Christian. I grew up going to church, have been baptised and confirmed, and had read the entire Bible by the time I was eighteen. The fact is, I actually have had most of the conversations Nick_Miller enumerates above. It's not that I haven't heard the answers. It's that, frankly, the answers I have heard seem ridiculous.

The most powerful way to people turn away from religion is to encourage them to read the Bible--the whole thing.  Not just snippets.  It certainly shattered my faith. 


OtherJen

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...
« Reply #144 on: December 28, 2018, 08:54:39 PM »
Most atheists I know in the US -- myself included -- grew up in households that were at least nominally Christian. I grew up going to church, have been baptised and confirmed, and had read the entire Bible by the time I was eighteen. The fact is, I actually have had most of the conversations Nick_Miller enumerates above. It's not that I haven't heard the answers. It's that, frankly, the answers I have heard seem ridiculous.

The most powerful way to people turn away from religion is to encourage them to read the Bible--the whole thing.  Not just snippets.  It certainly shattered my faith.

Yes.

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #145 on: December 28, 2018, 09:18:02 PM »
I kinda fall in a No-Man's land..  Christians and religious people think I'm atheist.  Atheists think I'm religious.  What I do think is that religions, particularly Christianity, carry some truth though I don't accept or reject it 100%.  I agree with a lot of the philosophies in Christianity.  And I'm also very interested in religion's explanation for the metaphysical and the occult (not necessarily limited to just Christianity).  I'm also very interested in exploring the spiritual realm like the astral plane.  However, there are also parts of religion that i don't quite agree with either, including daily/weekly worship (I almost never go to church these days) or faith in God or a higher power.

One of the few people whom I share similar views and attitudes towards Christianity is Jordan Peterson.

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #146 on: December 28, 2018, 09:26:11 PM »
Most of my life has been spent in the Bible belt.  With more churches than gas stations and the blatant and in your face assumption that EVERYONE of course is Christian.

I moved out of the Bible belt for a few yearsv and it really is a whole different world out there!

I could fill this thread up with some more stories about outrageous in your face evangelism... But there's probably enough of that (tbh I only read about the first 70 responses before skipping to a reply).

I'm really hear here to share my latest coping mechanism: imagine everyone talking about Christianity is in a fandom.  Honestly this isn't far from the truth.  It's a ridiculously successful and long running fandom.  Some of the subgenres have amazing garb and rituals, some just meet like any normal bookclub.

Harry Potter, Bronies, Star Wars, WOW, Star trek...I can listen to people talk excitedly about things like this and when I just equate Christianity to another fandom I am surprisingly so much more accepting.  I also get secret enjoyment from this amusement. 

Your milage may vary.

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #147 on: December 28, 2018, 09:53:07 PM »
Seeing as this thread is an atheist thread now, my fellow non-believers, how do you feel about determinism versus free will? I'm firmly in the camp that everything that ever happened and will ever happen is set in the proverbial stone, and free will an illusion. I believed this as a Christian as well, but as an atheist makes even more sense to me. Every decision ever made in an act of "will" can be traced to things totally out of our control, from our genes, to the parents raising us, to the TV, to the time and age we were born into, and various other factors. Taken to extremes, this belief might come to many unpleasant conclusions (think criminals and punishment), but also some pleasant ones as well (thinking about risk taking). Whatever happens was meant to be.

I know I'm not articulating this perfectly, but I'm curious if anyone feels similar.

If a murderer's actions are purely deterministic, then other people would also be deterministically protecting themselves by locking the murderer in a cage.
I'm not under the impression that my awareness of determinism is going to lead me to any actionable conclusions.  \_(ツ)_/

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #148 on: December 28, 2018, 11:59:15 PM »
Most of my life has been spent in the Bible belt.  With more churches than gas stations and the blatant and in your face assumption that EVERYONE of course is Christian.

I moved out of the Bible belt for a few yearsv and it really is a whole different world out there!

I could fill this thread up with some more stories about outrageous in your face evangelism... But there's probably enough of that (tbh I only read about the first 70 responses before skipping to a reply).

I'm really hear here to share my latest coping mechanism: imagine everyone talking about Christianity is in a fandom.  Honestly this isn't far from the truth.  It's a ridiculously successful and long running fandom.  Some of the subgenres have amazing garb and rituals, some just meet like any normal bookclub.

Harry Potter, Bronies, Star Wars, WOW, Star trek...I can listen to people talk excitedly about things like this and when I just equate Christianity to another fandom I am surprisingly so much more accepting.  I also get secret enjoyment from this amusement. 

Your milage may vary.

I actually think this is hilarious and awesome advice.

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Re: Holding my tongue with religious friends...(for atheists only)
« Reply #149 on: December 29, 2018, 01:52:46 AM »
I would describe "respect" as having good internal manners as well as good external ones.

Yes, up to a point.  (And apologies for using the incorrect version of your screen name in my previous post.)

My external manners bow to necessity, to social niceties and to any desire I feel to persuade.  My internal ones do not.  If someone's religion disrespects one of my LGBTQ friends then I may show external good manners but my internal ones are for me alone and are not necessarily so constrained - after all, I have to show good manners to the rights of my LGTBQ friends as well and the two can be in conflict.

Supposing my views on the abomination status of LGBT people were in conflict with someone else's I could, internally, do two things:

1. Rage and scream and tantrum at the other person. Tear my hair out and tell them they were an ignorant asshole. Call them all kinds of names. Insist their entire worldview was stupid stupid stupid la la la la and pound my worldview into them with a fist.

2. Calmly explain that I disagree with them. Ask them to explain their worldview thoroughly. Listen silently. Explain my worldview thoroughly. Ask them to listen silently. Ask clarifying questions of each other. Explain, presumably, that I still disagree with them and would not like to hear their views in general conversation any longer. Decide whether to quietly spend less time with them if they can't be a grown up about it. This isn't a great way of explaining it, but its hard to put into words - respect is about tone.

One can do that internally as much as externally. That's respect. Of course those aren't literally the only courses of action, but they serve well to illustrate the two main intellectual and emotional courses of action available.

I know people in the UK whose relationships have broken up over Brexit. My friend asked me how I could stand to be married to someone who voted leave. The topic of Brexit comes up almost daily at the moment at some point. We really would struggle to escape it. Well, neither my husband nor I rage at each other for voting the wrong way. We don't call each other stupid. We don't speak to each other in a condescending tone. We speak respectfully to each other (even as he is pleased with the idea of a No Deal Brexit) and think respectfully about each other. Your thought become your words, etc etc. I make a great effort to use respectful vocabulary in my thoughts as well as my words. I guess I'd call that something like integrity, if you included actions as well.

You are undoubtedly a better person than I am.  I respect the right to freedom of thought, speech and religion, but that is not about the individual, it is about the legal, constitutional and societal rights under which some of us are lucky enough to live.  I can also respect the individual's right to exercise those freedoms.  But respecting the way in which they exercise those freedoms looks very much like giving them a pass on beliefs and actions which hurt others and disrespect their rights to life and to freedom of thought, speech and even religion.  Hopefully I will be able to express my disagreement in ways which take the conversation forward, but that is about manners and negotiating tactics not a fundamental response to the ideas they hold.

SomedayStache's fandom idea is both hilarious and useful, but the comparison breaks down when active harm is the result of the religious beliefs.