Apologetics with a believing wife
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04-11-2014, 09:35 AM
Apologetics with a believing wife
My wife and I are reading "I don't Have Enough Faith to be and Atheist" right now. She has never read any apologetics of any kind so many of the ideas that they are talking about (i.e. Cosmological argument, etc.) are completely new to her. I am a scientist (and atheist). Science is what I do for a living, she has no scientific background of any kind. When we discuss what the book says, I share the problems that we all know of as well as my own ideas. I try to be as respectful as possible but she gets offended every time I say something that doesn't agree with Turek and Geissler (which is much of the time). Last night we were talking about it and I asked her why she felt attacked. Her response was that she really didn't know why but she felt that this book is supposed to help her believe more and by me pointing out the flaws, it is offending her. I pointed out that if she reads this and then we talk about it later afterwards then what is the difference? Does anyone have any experience with this? I really need some help with this if anyone has any advice. I'm not trying to deconvert her or anything, just trying to engage her in an intellectual conversation.
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04-11-2014, 12:46 PM
RE: Apologetics with a believing wife
I here what you are saying as I am in a similar situation. I am actually a chemist also, and my wife finds real scientific stuff intimidating. She is open to discussion at times, but also finds some challenges to christianity a bit bothersome. My approach is somewhat of an opportunistic one. When she comments on the ridiculous views of some christian friends, I politely stir up some conversation and do get her thinking. She has stopped the Sunday church thing, but still feels something just wrong about not being a good christian. Her sister and mother are fundi bible literalists, so I do openly get into some confrontations with them in front of my wife. She gets mad half the time and acknowledges my good points the other times. She knows things just don't add up, but is still clinging to the fairy tale.

“Truth does not demand belief. Scientists do not join hands every Sunday, singing, yes, gravity is real! I will have faith! I will be strong! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up, must come down, down, down. Amen! If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about it.”
— Dan Barker —
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05-11-2014, 12:07 PM
RE: Apologetics with a believing wife
If her stated reason for reading the book was to strengthen her faith, I wonder if her being offended is just a knee jerk response to the fact that you are making more sense than Turek and Geissler. That would start to shake the faith she is trying to reinforce.

I see two choices, you can read the book and discuss it or read it and not discuss it. If she does want to discuss it, she needs to be ready for you to say what you thought about it. You shouldn't have to censor your reactions to the book. Make sure you watch your tone of voice as that may contribute to her feeling attacked.

I really hope this turns into a learning experience for you both. I also commend you for reading that garbage called a book. Big Grin

I am still learning. --Michelangelo, age 87
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05-11-2014, 06:18 PM (This post was last modified: 05-11-2014 07:16 PM by The Organic Chemist.)
RE: Apologetics with a believing wife
Thanks for the responses. I have no one else to talk to about this.

We actually had a very good discussion last night. I second the motion of it being a garbage of a book. We discussed the fourth chapter last night and WOW did it give me a tremendous headache. The real zinger is that when we were wrapping up, we were talking about a comment that was made in the book about how the more enlightened physicists have become christians. Facepalm When I shared with her the numbers of believers in the National Academy of Sciences and said that if intelligence makes it more rational to be a believer, why are nearly all of them atheists? Her response (I swear I am not making this up): "You all must be thinking too much and you miss something." I just stared at her and couldn't believe she actually said that. For the first time in 14 years, she left me speechless.

Comrade: I think that is exactly what it is. I saw Jerry Dewitt talking about it in a video once and he speculated that it was tribal. I can totally see what he was referring to. We discussed that and she was far better last night. I was really trying to be extra cautious on my tone and everything. She is so new to apologetics and I hope that she is thinking more about it. I have made it clear that I am not trying to deconvert her so that wasn't where it was coming from.

Timber: part of the problem as I see it is that she DOESN'T see any of her friend's views as silly. Even the ones who think they can hear god directly or are young earthers. Thankfully, she says she can't feel it and is actually a little stressed that she can't hear or feel anything.

"If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality.
The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination."
- Paul Dirac
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05-11-2014, 06:34 PM
RE: Apologetics with a believing wife
(04-11-2014 09:35 AM)The Organic Chemist Wrote:  ... just trying to engage her in an intellectual conversation.

Yabut... it's not about intellect, it's about 'feels'.

Probably best to stick to "Why do you feel that?" rather than "Why do you think that?" if you want to avoid causing the distress of cognitive dissonance.

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05-11-2014, 07:16 PM
RE: Apologetics with a believing wife
Quote:but she gets offended every time I say something that doesn't agree with Turek and Geissler

I would not expect her to change if I were you.

Atheism is NOT a Religion. It's A Personal Relationship With Reality!
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05-11-2014, 07:18 PM
RE: Apologetics with a believing wife
(05-11-2014 07:16 PM)Minimalist Wrote:  
Quote:but she gets offended every time I say something that doesn't agree with Turek and Geissler

I would not expect her to change if I were you.

I'm not trying to change her nor do I expect her to. I am just trying to have a conversation where she doesn't shrivel up and say something like, "well you just have to have faith" or some nonsense like that.

"If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality.
The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination."
- Paul Dirac
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05-11-2014, 07:21 PM
RE: Apologetics with a believing wife
I assure you that is not how she sees it.

Most religious types cannot stand any criticism of their belief system. They always take it as a personal attack.

Atheism is NOT a Religion. It's A Personal Relationship With Reality!
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05-11-2014, 10:18 PM
RE: Apologetics with a believing wife
(05-11-2014 07:21 PM)Minimalist Wrote:  I assure you that is not how she sees it.

Most religious types cannot stand any criticism of their belief system. They always take it as a personal attack.

Well, you're probably right there.

"If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality.
The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination."
- Paul Dirac
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06-11-2014, 05:38 AM
RE: Apologetics with a believing wife
(05-11-2014 07:21 PM)Minimalist Wrote:  I assure you that is not how she sees it.

Most religious types cannot stand any criticism of their belief system. They always take it as a personal attack.

Yeah, but there are also religious people that changed their mindset and started having hunger for more knowledge resulting in a loss of faith.

OP, I think this is a very nice thing you're doing with your wife, reading and commenting. I think it's a nice opportunity for growth. Kudos to you both.

孤独 - The Out Crowd
Life is a flash of light between two eternities of darkness.
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