Conversations with a dying Creationist
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30-01-2018, 12:32 PM
Conversations with a dying Creationist
I've a very old friend from HS that has become a creationist. He joined the 21st century a year or so ago and now possesses a smart phone. Confused Yes I know that's hilarious, and no I've not bluntly pointed out that hypocrisy. As I say, he's a dear old friend. He also lost his wife to cancer and I'm afraid his own cancer will take him before he has grandchildren. We've had an extended, months long conversation on theism, the Bible, philosophy, existentialism, the human condition, morality, cosmology, quantum mechanics, and a few other topics that come up when two old friends talk.

Recently he started with: "Who has more faith, me in God? Or you, in evolution? OK we can guess where he's getting this stuff eh? The pause in this latest conversation ended up with me noting that he puts a lot of stock in the 'eyewitness accounts', as he calls them, of the Bible when he hasn't met any of these eyewitnesses. He then notes that since I haven't met Darwin, I should be skeptical of his claims for the same reason. Essentially his argument is that no one has witnessed a species created from variances over time (though, oddly, he accepts that dogs have evolved from wolves) so it can't be true, but there were eyewitnesses of the resurrection of Jesus so that has to have really happened. Blink Facepalm Shocking - Fun with emoticons - Blush

I think we both really have enjoyed the discourse and I'm happy to provide, at least, a distraction for his mind from the trials of his body. I'm careful for his feelings. I don't wish to create any emotional shocks that might come with either our discussions becoming too - passionate - or a wrenching upheaval of his beliefs. I may have come across as the a$$hat occasionally though. I really am fine with his believing in myths but we both know I won't accept any denials of science without countering the arguments. We respect each other enough to call bullshit on each other without fear for the relationship.

Aside from an hours long phone conversation or two the entire conversation has been over text messages. I know he's generally intelligent and I know he's reading and understanding what I write. I also know that while he upholds that one cannot trust a chair (anyone else get the 'chair argument') without knowledge of Jesus he readily accepts all modern medical assistance for his illness. He also has no issues using the fruits of science. Heck he's been a Pilot and once sought a commercial license. It's been a trip trying to understand this condition in the human psyche. Especially in someone I know so well. His initial revelation Tongue some years ago, that the earth was created in 6 literal days, was what got me to read the Bible. I had to check who was the crazy one. Cool - really having fun with these emoticons this morning.

What's next? We've covered the same ground here and there a few times so I expect he'll bring up something from a book he's into. He's been reading WLC, of all people, and a couple other apologists. I haven't seen direct connection with material from AIG but he seems to think dinosaurs existed with humans and that carbon dating is not a thing. I expect it'll be entertaining if nothing else. As always I let him open the debates and I don't pressure for answers to questions I raise. I do have a nagging concern: He has a serious cancer (not to mention he's lost his wife to a different form of it). Exactly what am I if I drive him, even inadvertently, to nihilism in a bad way? How will this affect him physically? What might it do to him mentally? I'm not arguing with a person in full health that I expect might have decades of happy life freed from belief in myths and miracles. His belief has helped him deal with loss I cannot imagine. He believes his wife is 'in a better place' and 'with Jesus'. I ask myself if I really want to rip that from him.

His belief is not damaging to those around him or himself. He expects me to argue 'in good faith' and not pull punches. He may in fact be struggling with his beliefs apart from our conversations. I'm not afraid for his soul of course. I don't know what the most helpful thing is for him right now? Should I back off and just support his struggles? Is he asking for help understanding a life that's been way less kind to him than I? I feel quite undeservedly lucky.

If you've read my extended monologue than you. If you're posting a response thank you again and very much. I don't expect any of the questions I've posed but I hope my rambling might at least help someone else. Perhaps, if I've done well here a resultant discussion will be of more benefit yet. Well wishes either way.

- A faithless unbeliever.

I'm agnostic on agnosticism
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30-01-2018, 12:40 PM
RE: Conversations with a dying Creationist
I think it's good to have a religious buddy with whom one can have conversations such as this. It's kind of rare.

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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30-01-2018, 12:49 PM (This post was last modified: 30-01-2018 12:57 PM by BikerDude.)
RE: Conversations with a dying Creationist
You are more brave then I.
I would run away at full speed rather than discuss religion with a dying person.
Even a very old person. I'd leave it alone. I'm lucky. My old man is 93 years old, has had several major heart attacks, is looking death square in the eye and still says without hesitation that he never bought any of the religion bullshit. He's a tough old bird and I admire his grit.

I have come to a place where the terms "Friend" and "Creationist" are mutually exclusive.
I might have acquaintances who are creationists. The only flesh and blood creationist that I've known that I can think of was a coworker.
Honestly it would just be too high of a bar for me to get over for friendship.
I'm not interested in these kind of discussions and I doubt there would be much else we could talk about.

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30-01-2018, 01:13 PM
RE: Conversations with a dying Creationist
I understand your angst: my (foster) sister is heavy into the woo, but also a (barely) recovering addict, with very serious health issues, who finds strength in a (relatively benign) faith community. The last thing I want is to pull the rug out from under her: it could literally kill her.

Sometimes it`s better to be kind than right.

Personally, I`d steer clear of religion in your discussions with your friend; I`m sure you can find other, less impactful things to talk about (i.e. politics!)

Good luck!

Your faith is not evidence, your opinion is not fact, and your bias is not wisdom
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30-01-2018, 01:28 PM
RE: Conversations with a dying Creationist
(30-01-2018 01:13 PM)Reducetarian Wrote:  I understand your angst: my (foster) sister is heavy into the woo, but also a (barely) recovering addict, with very serious health issues, who finds strength in a (relatively benign) faith community. The last thing I want is to pull the rug out from under her: it could literally kill her.

Sometimes it`s better to be kind than right.

Personally, I`d steer clear of religion in your discussions with your friend; I`m sure you can find other, less impactful things to talk about (i.e. politics!)

Good luck!

Sound advice.
Imagine that you convince him that he will be worm food next week.
Yippie won't that be a great day?
There is no good scenario here.
I'd hop around the room singing "I've seen the light" at full volume.
GLORY HALLELUJAH!
I AM SAVED!

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30-01-2018, 02:15 PM
RE: Conversations with a dying Creationist
Thank you all.
I'm certain it's way to late for me to feign a conversion of my own (I'm a terrible liar anyway) and the discussion I think has actually been entertaining for both of us on most levels. He'd never trust me if I started suddenly saying things like: "Hey I think you might have something there. I guess maybe people are special and not evolved from other animals." I can't break that trust. I think he's counting on me to provide a foil or hone for his faith. Or at least a well distracting mental exercise.

He expresses being sad for me that I will be distant from God. I ask him not to be. I am comfortable enough. My friend is, I hope, going to be around for several years yet. I do worry because when we talk about his treatments or reports of the status of the tumors its never really positive. Not horribly negative most times but I don't recall him ever saying things are looking like a recovery is coming. I suppose God/Jesus is the light at the end of the tunnel for him. If by arguing with me that flame is fanned and he can make it brighter, I'm happy. Just gotta be careful it doesn't blow out. Sorry for waxing metaphorical there. - where'd those emoticons go?!?

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30-01-2018, 02:18 PM
RE: Conversations with a dying Creationist
Do you think he's enjoying your conversations? (serious question) If it's energizing and feels vital to him to go back and forth with you on these issues, then I think you should continue. Maybe somewhat more gently on your part than normal, maybe noting a good point here or there as you counter.

On the other hand, if it seems that he's getting agitated or anxious, backing off could be more appropriate.

And if both of you enjoy debating in general but this is too hot of a topic, maybe find some other issue?
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30-01-2018, 02:25 PM
RE: Conversations with a dying Creationist
(30-01-2018 01:28 PM)BikerDude Wrote:  ...
Imagine that you convince him that he will be worm food next week.
Yippie won't that be a great day?
There is no good scenario here.
I'd hop around the room singing "I've seen the light" at full volume.
GLORY HALLELUJAH!
I AM SAVED!

Worm food. An oddly warm and comforting thought. Ever read Shelley's Frankenstein? Unsure
I try to really focus on him being proud of his life and works regardless of it's length or end. I want him to be happy with what he's wrought here and now and not attribute that to something other than himself. Hmmm.. Maybe I should text him that bit.

Also, I can't not defend science. Undecided - yeah emoticons!

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30-01-2018, 02:31 PM
RE: Conversations with a dying Creationist
(30-01-2018 02:18 PM)julep Wrote:  Do you think he's enjoying your conversations? (serious question) If it's energizing and feels vital to him to go back and forth with you on these issues, then I think you should continue. Maybe somewhat more gently on your part than normal, maybe noting a good point here or there as you counter.

On the other hand, if it seems that he's getting agitated or anxious, backing off could be more appropriate.

And if both of you enjoy debating in general but this is too hot of a topic, maybe find some other issue?

Yes. And this is my strategy so far. Though I am now worried you've only validated me. Consider Jeeze are we to be skeptical of our own skepticism?

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30-01-2018, 02:54 PM
RE: Conversations with a dying Creationist
I think you can discuss anything you want with your friend - he needs your friendship now, more than ever. Shy

Let him know that, though you both have your respective reasoning for belief or non-belief, the important thing is living, right now. Whatever gets each of you through the night, is an individual thing.

You can't make someone believe something, when they just don't.
You can't make someone not believe something, when they just can't.

Don't concentrate on what you can't do, focus on, your personal view and express your satisfaction for your reasoning. If he sees it a different way then, he might be better off going with the reasoning that got him there.

Let him know that he's your friend. He deserves the respect of your sincerity and honesty.

So ... "Who has more faith, me in God? Or you, in evolution?"

Science changes all the time - we learn new things with every discovery. Why would anyone have faith in evolution?

Science does not require faith. Only his god requires faith and it's cool if he's got that covered. Shy

Hang with your friend while you can. He may need your injection of reality to help him fight his illness. Mainly, he needs you around because you won't be helping him out with hollow prayers. You'll be holding his hand like a human being. Shy

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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