Family of thumpers and sticking up for myself.
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11-08-2014, 11:28 PM (This post was last modified: 12-08-2014 08:06 AM by DLJ.)
Family of thumpers and sticking up for myself.
My family accepts me for who I am, even if they aren't necessarily fond of my lack of faith. They accept it.

My husband's family? No. Just no. My immediate in laws, mother and father in law, accept. His extended family, cousins and such? A bunch of bible thumpers, and I don't use that term to be derogatory towards all Christians, only these people. They're scary people. One of his cousins posted a video the other day about a "faith healer" who healed a "legally blind" child who had an eye turn and "was born without an optic nerve".

As a professional who works in the optometry field, the "diagnosis" alone made me want to punch someone, but faith healing? Come on.

With that in mind, I am becoming a little more vocal about my lack of beliefs. I'm not pushy at all, and most of the time I grin and take it. I never try to debate, typically, because I know I'll get nowhere. Plus, honestly, I get pissed when people try to convert me, so I steer clear of similar behavior. For now Wink I never say they are wrong, I never take jabs at their beliefs, no matter how blind or mindless I may think they are.

The other day his cousin posted something about some new god movie, and of course I found what he said to be a little slighting towards non believers. I'm trying to get over that, but its such a hot button with those specific people. So I commented, very impartially, not making a comment pro one side or another.

It grew into a gigantic debate between myself and another atheist, and my husband's cousin and another blind follower. I'd like to post the conversation below here and get some feedback. I'm new to being "out" with my atheism, and while I'll never try to convert, I want to try to hone my debate skills to where I can either debate rationally without going into a blind rage, or walk away and let it go without having it tumor in my brain for weeks.

So. Hopefully that wasn't too much. Below is the conversation:

-------------
Cousin: Just finished watching God's Not Dead. What a great movie. Really takes a hard look at some underlying reasons why people who say they don't believe feel that way. It can be very hard at times to understand why God doesn't always give us what we want and sometimes it is easier to say it is because he is not listening or doesn't exist. The truth is he is real and he is alive and he is always listening. Sometimes his plans may not mirror what we want or expect but they are the right plans. I love the little catch phrase in the movie about God always being good and always God is good. Hope everyone had a wonderful night.

4 comments congratulating him with some interspersed AMENS and whatnot.

Me: Some don't believe because they just don't believe.

We all have our own reasons and should be accepted for that even if our opinions differ.-L

2nd Atheist: For the record as someone who doesn't believe the only reason is that IMO it's simply not real. I'm not angry at God (like being angry at the smurfs) and nothing horrible happened to me to make me not believe. I find the premise of this film to be laughable at best.

Cousin: (Me) and (Atheist). I completely respect you and your believes (or lack of ) but your reasoning is far different than most people I know and have met that say they don't believe in God. I do however hope that at some point your views change. Smile

Me: In all fairness, I gave no indication as to why i don't believe. So any assumptions I can almost guarantee are completely wrong.

And I hope at some point your views change as well.

Not such a nice thing to hear said, is it? I will never try to sway anyone's views because I respect your right to your own opinions. Most of.us expect the same treatment, but rarely receive it because we're seen as social pariah.

It's like saying "I respect your right to be a different skin color, but I hope one day you see the truth and switch to white."

That's all I'm trying to say. I don't judge you or anyone else for believing how you do. I wish people like (Atheist) and I were awarded the same courtesy.

Agree to disagree is all. No harm, no foul Smile

Atheist: This is a totally innocent conversation about a difference of opinions. As it is I have not been offended in anyway. That being said I also hope not to offend with this:

I live in a world that offers no solace in second chances in an after life. What I see is what I get and my awareness of my own pending mortality is often a real consideration. A reminder that when all is said and done tomorrow is not promised to anyone. As an Atheist I can't take comfort in the idea of seeing departed loved ones waiting for me at the pearly gates. Often the idea that one day I just like all those before me will pass into the nothingness that I came from is a scary one.

Sound sad? Not really. It's a reminder to me to live my life. To tell those who I love how much they mean to me. I know that I will likely never have the chance again. So I do just that. It feels so good to know that I make my choices based on reason and what is physically real.

The path of Non-belief is not an easy road travelled. We are judged by those who believe with pity and often disgust. Would it be easier to just stay with the status quo and just believe? Possibly...

However I present to you the reason "just believing because you have nothing to lose and everything to gain" is simply not possible or reasonable for people like (Me) and I.

Asking us to believe or change our minds about God is like asking you to change your mind about believing in Santa Claus, or the Easter Bunny, or Zues, Karisha, Allah, Joseph Smith etc. I know and you know that these childhood characters and or those other Gods that many profess their belief in are not real. I say to you that I don't believe in Jesus for the same reason you don't believe in those stories.

We are all Atheists. I just believe in one God less than you do.

Cousin: (Atheist) it has been too long since we sat on the porch and had one of these talks. I always enjoyed having them with you! I agree the people that believe because there's nothing to lose are doing it all wrong. Just like I know a lot of Christians can be hypocritical or only believe when its convenient. The reason I worded my original comment as "some underlying reasons" is that I know people such as you that have your own reasons and not everyone is the same. I was not looking down on anyone or trying to belittle someone for not believing in God. Thats the beauty of free will and the ability to make your own decisions. I have seen the blessing of the Lord and the results of his actions, for me he is as real as the air I breathe. I do not expect everyone to understand or agree with me.

Peanut Gallery 3rd Monkey: Just have to add that asking you to believe is more asking you to listen, if you feel so inclined. A lot of non-believers will consistently cite Christians as hypocritical or picking apart the Bible to follow only certain parts. Respecting one's opinion should be a given, especially among friends, but definitely not limited to that scope. It would be hypocritical of me as a Christian to not share my experience or belief because I am guided by a higher Authority to do just that in the great commision. It would worry me if a Christian decided not to share their belief because that runs contrary to Jesus' command for us. As an athiest, are you guided by a higher authority or a higher power to proclaim the message of your belief or just simply guided by your own morality/mortality? I respect everyone's opinion and beliefs, but with respect comes understanding. I cannot be silent about my faith else I fail my faith and my God. I understand you might not want to hear it and I won't hound you, but I will at least try to share my experience as well as listen to you share yours.

Me: Most non believers absolutely understand religion. And we still choose not to believe.

My push back to you, (3rd Monkey), is going off of your "respect is listening", most non believers have never had a person of religion listen to us. Ever. The minute we begin to explain why we don't believe and for what reasons, we immediately get shut down with preaching that frankly, we've heard before.

This obviously doesn't apply to every person of religion. I'm sure there are people out there who will genuinely listen and nkt instantly slap us with platitudes, but to be honest, they are few and far between.

And on either side, asking someone to stop should be respected whether you feel you need to get your beliefs out or not. We dont know why people believe what they do, and a lot of times it does more harm than good to get your side out.

It's just a big debate of agreeing to disagree. And there's no harm in that as long as everyone knows we're all equals no matter WHAT we believe.

Atheist: (3rd Monkey),

I feel as if this has already gone further than I wanted it to. Honestly I'm becoming wary of the same old discussions over and over. Suffice to say, I'm driven by education and reason. The only "Authority"or "Higher power" I am guided by is proper education and that is definitely not a supernatural one. I would say I personally feel that I have a moral obligation to stand up for my rights. I also feel that people who are religious have that same right.

My real only problem is when people step on the rights of others. When it comes to religious rights the practice of indoctrination is always responsible. That also applies to Atheists who use their influence to indoctrinate as well. I have no issue with people spreading the word of what they believe as long as they do so in appropriate settings. For example, I don't go into schools and speak about my views (because that's the law) so I expect that religious people follow that same law.

Some will say that "Evolution" is an Atheist philosophy but it's not. It's SCIENCE and that belongs to us all.

This will be my final post on this particular topic. Thanks to all who respected my thoughts.
-----------------

Now, even though I tried desperately to avoid it, a lot of what I said was said in a heart pounding rage, because I KNEW what his cousin was driving at with me. His family believes I'm "just angry with god" because our infant son passed last October. Not true. I'm angry, sure, but not with some big guy in the sky. So again, because I'm already on a hair trigger with them, to me, what he said was essentially "silly non believers, they're all just angry Christians or not educated enough" which is why I commented in the first place.

Anyway. Opinions, what could have been said differently by me, anything to help for the next time this debate starts because it absolutely will, or was I spinning my wheels for nothing?

Thanks for being a trooper and reading all of this. Any feedback is much appreciated.
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12-08-2014, 07:36 AM
RE: Family of thumpers and sticking up for myself.
I think you showed remarkable restraint and demonstrated exemplary curtesy. I would have been reduced to multiple curse words and probably own a shattered computer screen. Patience is not one of my virtues, nor is clear thinking under duress. Congrats for being a better person.

We have enough youth. How about looking for the Fountain of Smart?
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12-08-2014, 08:32 AM
RE: Family of thumpers and sticking up for myself.
Hi,
Note from Moderator:
I hope you don't mind but I edited your OP slightly. You used a real name twice. The same name. I changed it to '(3rd monkey)'. If I got the wrong person, please correct my error. Thanks.

It breaks no forum rule to use real names but as you started your post that way, I figured you were keen to maintain anonymity.


Meanwhile, thanks for the post. As I was reading it I detected not even a hint of frustration on your part. Good job. The responses (from all) struck me as considered and appropriate for that kind of discussion.

One point I might have been tempted to address was regarding the 'respect for opinions'... one can respect a person and their right to hold an opinion without respecting the opinion.

Another point was the christian doctrine of proselytising.
I would have thrown back a question... "If I joined an atheist society which had a set of clubhouse rules and one of the rules was to "...not be silent about my [lack of] faith"... "It would be hypocritical of me as a [member] to not share my experience or [lack of] belief because I am guided by a higher Authority [obliged by the membership rules] to do just that..." If you had heard the arguments before or were simply a little too busy with something else or listened for a while but were not convinced, how would you ask me to stop?

Or words to that effect.

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12-08-2014, 08:35 AM
RE: Family of thumpers and sticking up for myself.
Next family reunion with the thumper side at the BB@ when they offer you burgers or hot dogs or stake or pork, say "I am an atheist, where are the barbecue kittens"?

Poetry by Brian37(poems by an atheist) Also on Facebook as BrianJames Rational Poet and Twitter Brianrrs37
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12-08-2014, 11:35 AM
RE: Family of thumpers and sticking up for myself.
Thank you DLJ! Not that I think any of his family would be anywhere near here, but I figured I'd mask all names out of respect.

Very good point about respecting opinions as well.

I'm glad I didn't come off aggressive or anything. I felt as if they were almost talking down to us, even though they may not have been.

That damned hair trigger.
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12-08-2014, 12:16 PM
RE: Family of thumpers and sticking up for myself.
(12-08-2014 11:35 AM)MrsFarrow Wrote:  ...
I felt as if they were almost talking down to us, even though they may not have been.
...

I have a feeling that that's what theists think of atheists too. How often does one hear accusations of arrogance? Yes

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12-08-2014, 12:31 PM
RE: Family of thumpers and sticking up for myself.
I think you showed great restraint, I got into it with a former friend several times on Facebook. I put up with his demeaning bible verses -"A fool saith in his heart there is no god" and his demeaning attitudes for a couple of years until he became too much of an ass to deal with anymore.

I'm sure you'll experience something similar, but remember, atheist cat is on your side:

[Image: atheist_cat_demote_by_marsmar.jpg]

The tree of delusion is nourished by the vague promises and skewed perception of prayer. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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12-08-2014, 06:08 PM
RE: Family of thumpers and sticking up for myself.
(12-08-2014 12:16 PM)DLJ Wrote:  
(12-08-2014 11:35 AM)MrsFarrow Wrote:  ...
I felt as if they were almost talking down to us, even though they may not have been.
...

I have a feeling that that's what theists think of atheists too. How often does one hear accusations of arrogance? Yes
It's funny you say that. I keep the majority of my thoughts to myself expressly so I don't come off like "that outspoken atheist bitch", almost to the point of taking way more flak than I should.

And I'm glad atheist cat is on my side Smile
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12-08-2014, 06:26 PM
RE: Family of thumpers and sticking up for myself.
I would just like to say you have absolutely no chance of converting anyone to atheism. It just is not possible. Atheism has never another option religiously speaking.
Atheism and religion are not mutually exclusive either.

The only thing you can do is get them to ask questions about their beliefs.
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12-08-2014, 07:30 PM
RE: Family of thumpers and sticking up for myself.
I'm very sorry for your loss.

I agree that you didn't come off as particularly angry at all, so good job Thumbsup. From my own experience, trying to have a debate with people who are this outspoken about their belief is an exercise in frustration. They usually aren't really listening to what you're saying- just waiting so they can speak.

I feel like a really good argument is simply wasted on someone like that. Also, engaging them might feel satisfying, but it has the potential of making any future family gatherings more stressful for you.

I've had success with just saying that I don't want to discuss it. Then we just move on to talking about something else. In my situation, I feel like this route has led to better relationships and less drama.

Of course, not everyone is the same, and neither is every situation. Also, on a side note, Facebook (sorry if the post wasn't on there and I'm completely off) is not always the healthiest thing. Maybe just stop looking at his posts if possible- might be better for your state of mind. Because, really, who needs the aggravation? It can be a drain on your emotions and your energy.

Best of luck!
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