A surprising/disturbing discovery... Thoughts?
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19-07-2011, 02:01 AM
A surprising/disturbing discovery... Thoughts?
So while at college i befriended a a guy from film class, we would help out on each other projects and what not and came to hang out fairly often. My friend is a Catholic, i found this out not from him trying to convert me but in discussing why he disliked one of my favorite professors (because he was very caustic about religion and essentially called the religious dumb). This is how i found out he was a catholic. Nicest guy in the world, has always been there in a pinch and even watched my kids for me a time when there was no other option in an emergency. He has also never really brought up religion unless it came up naturally and he is well aware that i am an atheist.

I just wanted this to be known about the guy before i move into the disturbing part. (i mean as in disturbs me as a friend not like he sacrifices kittens to st joseph) We got to talking one night about documentaries and i mentioned Penn and Teller: Bullshit! as a mostly good one to watch in a television/short doco format. He replied he loved the show and had seen all of the episodes. Except for the ones dealing with religion. I said oh OK and moved on but that stuck to me and finally i asked him why those were the only episodes he didn't watch. He replied that he didn't watch them because of his religion and didn't want to possibly have his mind changed on it....... Now my elementary knowledge of psychology tells me that if someone purposely avoids something because it might disagree with them or that they may find reason to agree with it making them change their world view, it is more than likely because their faith isn't that strong to begin with. In my stunned silence after his answer he continued talking about his favorite episode of the P&T: BS! and we proceeded into my home to have drinks and watch Dear Zachary. I told him later that if wanted to talk about things like faith and religion and whatnot feel free to because its a good thing to open up discussions about things you aren't sure of. He said thanks and the matter hasnt come up again.

As i said before hes a good guy because he wants to be a good guy and not because of his religion. He does not force his beliefs on me or anyone for that matter and is quick to jump to anyones aid if needed. Am i being the a-hole invited out to dinner stubbornly refusing to bow my head as they say a prayer before the meal if it comes up again? Should i bring it up? This guy is not one of the problem people, he keeps his beliefs to himself and doesn't judge others for their beliefs. I suppose it only bothers me because he is purposely avoiding a challenge so to speak, and i have a lot of respect for the guy. Even more so if he were to even just watch the episodes and tell me they were in fact complete bullshit to him. But to purposely exclude knowledge irks me, a part of me wants to say he should avoid history and science classes to if he is that afraid of his faith being shaken. ONe teacher in particular that i took for history assigns a book from the Gnostic gospels for all the students to read and write a paper on what they read every semester. He shared that it always amazes him how many of his college age students didn't realize there were books taken/left out of the bible. (Personally, I dont know how KNOWING that there were parts of the bible left out by the architects doesnt automatically make one say "wait a second!" maybe this isnt true and divine knowledge) I know that id kind of be a jerk to consistently bring it up to him but i also know that purposeful ignorance can turn dangerous very easily. What would you guys do?
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19-07-2011, 04:51 AM
RE: A surprising/disturbing discovery... Thoughts?
I would probably leave the guy be and mind my own business. If he wants to be a Catholic and does not want his belief challenged, so what? It would be one thing if he was trying to convert you or banging you over the head with his beliefs and why his are right and yours are wrong, but it sounds like he's not doing that.

Sounds like the guy is a pretty good friend. Good friends are hard to find. Try being a good friend too and leave the topic alone, let him be who he wants to be, and enjoy what else you have in common.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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19-07-2011, 05:00 AM
RE: A surprising/disturbing discovery... Thoughts?
My mom is the same way, and it's hard not to want to press it from time to time. The main thing I do is offer her good viewpoints from time to time that she can go look at or not. She's never went ahead and looked. She actually tells me about ones that she has an interest in, but would never read as they might break her faith. She's over 60 though so it's a bit different.

Remember that you like this guy, and while he doesn't need christianity it's part of his life. He might become less good if you alter his world. Even a sensible alteration can lead to drastic problems. How he lives now works, so be accepting. But no continue refusing to bow your head for prayer you have no reason to have to do that =p

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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19-07-2011, 06:07 AM
RE: A surprising/disturbing discovery... Thoughts?
I would say leave the religion topic alone. He doesn't want to talk about it, so why would you? His faith doesn't affect you, so why do you even care that he's catholic?

I'm not sure what you think could become dangerous, but being a good friend involves respecting one anothers wishes. He knows you are an atheist, so he doesn't push his religion on you. Do him the same courtesy by also respecting his beliefs.

(I never do understand why people so stubbornly refuse to bow their heads when others pray. It's nothing more than saying, "this is your home, so while you practice the ritual of prayer, I will respectfully remain silent." Even in my home, where we are atheists, when we have a dinner I ask everyone to take a moment so anyone who wishes can say a silent prayer.)

So many cats, so few good recipes.
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19-07-2011, 07:14 AM
RE: A surprising/disturbing discovery... Thoughts?
If he's concerned about losing his faith, he's probably already begun the process of losing his faith, whether he's aware of it or not. This can be a very, very painful process, especially for Catholics. (because they're threatened earlier and more cruelly than most people) It's also, necessarily, a very lonely process. So, saying "Feel free to talk to me," but not pushing, is your kindest, most helpful approach.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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19-07-2011, 08:22 AM
RE: A surprising/disturbing discovery... Thoughts?
(19-07-2011 07:14 AM)Peterkin Wrote:  If he's concerned about losing his faith, he's probably already begun the process of losing his faith, whether he's aware of it or not. This can be a very, very painful process, especially for Catholics. (because they're threatened earlier and more cruelly than most people) It's also, necessarily, a very lonely process. So, saying "Feel free to talk to me," but not pushing, is your kindest, most helpful approach.

Well said. Kindness is key. It will make you an ally if he is losing his faith, and won't allienate you if his faith remains.

So many cats, so few good recipes.
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19-07-2011, 09:28 AM
RE: A surprising/disturbing discovery... Thoughts?
I agree with what everyone has said so far. Let him go about his own way of dealing with his faith. I came into college a believer and left a full blown skeptic and atheist. The reason was that I slowly began to question things and eventually I even started *gasp* reading and watching material that changed my opinion!!! The point I am making is that he probably is questioning it in some way shape or form and he needs to come to the conclusion for himself. The atheistic journey was a very enlightening expierence for me and I did not talk with anyone about it until I was ready/pretty much already an atheist. That took me ~4 out of the 5 years I spent in college to do. Time is the key here. He needs to go his own way and you need to be patient. If he begins to open up enough to talk about it GREAT. Otherwise just leave him be.

“Science is simply common sense at its best, that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic.”
—Thomas Henry Huxley
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19-07-2011, 09:49 AM
RE: A surprising/disturbing discovery... Thoughts?
Great thing about him is that he is not a Creationist Christian, but Catholic, so he CAN listen to history and science classes and that does not interfere with his beliefs. And he does not want to loose his religion probably because of his family and traditions. That means that he is probably questioning his faith, but in the true family tradition, he will not admit it, or go deeper into it. That is how 90% of Croatia is Catholics, and yet I think only around 20-30% actually believe in that BS. Also, maybe, I say MAYBE, 10% of those Catholics have ever read the Bible. But it is tradition, it is family tradition, it is Croatian tradition, they do not want to go against it and even if they know that can all be a bunch of fairy tales, they can not help it. It's like you can not be just a Croat, you need to be Croat-Catholic if you are a true patriot. That is why I am almost a traitor to my country, I can never be a true patriot... Smile

I think it is quite a similar thing here with your friend. It is best if you do not try to push him into questioning. If he comes with some questions, then try and explain to him, or watch something like Zeitgeist 1, that can open his eyes...

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I have a theory that the truth is never told during the nine-to-five hours.
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