How do I respectfully tell my brother that I don't believe God spoke to him?
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20-08-2015, 09:10 PM
Question How do I respectfully tell my brother that I don't believe God spoke to him?

After a lengthy e-mail debate on our opposing views in which my brother informed me that god spoke to him as a child and also informed me of various "bonafide" miracles that have happened to him in his life, he is asking me why I don't believe what he says (because it's the truth!). He just can't fathom how his personal accounts of god have not converted me and he is already a little touchy on the whole subject now. How do I tell him I don't believe him, but be respectful at the same time? All I could think of is to say that I believe that he believes that stuff
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20-08-2015, 09:34 PM
RE: How do I respectfully tell my brother that I don't believe God spoke to him?
(20-08-2015 09:10 PM)RussianMafia Wrote:  
After a lengthy e-mail debate on our opposing views in which my brother informed me that god spoke to him as a child and also informed me of various "bonafide" miracles that have happened to him in his life, he is asking me why I don't believe what he says (because it's the truth!). He just can't fathom how his personal accounts of god have not converted me and he is already a little touchy on the whole subject now. How do I tell him I don't believe him, but be respectful at the same time? All I could think of is to say that I believe that he believes that stuff
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Don't.

#sigh
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20-08-2015, 09:37 PM
RE: How do I respectfully tell my brother that I don't believe God spoke to him?
You can't argue with anyone's personal story.

It just never works. You could try to punch large holes in the thought of why they feel they're so important that god took the time to talk to them while quite literally millions of people die.

But that rarely works....sometimes it plants a seed but....

Welcome.


But as if to knock me down, reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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20-08-2015, 09:40 PM
RE: How do I respectfully tell my brother that I don't believe God spoke to him?
I suggest you read a book on why people believe such things, just so you can understand your brother better. A good choice in this regard is, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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20-08-2015, 10:00 PM
RE: How do I respectfully tell my brother that I don't believe God spoke to him?
Is your brother a Christian? Is he claiming that Jesus is speaking to him, or "the father" as Christians call it?
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20-08-2015, 10:09 PM
RE: How do I respectfully tell my brother that I don't believe God spoke to him?
(20-08-2015 10:00 PM)Aliza Wrote:  Is your brother a Christian? Is he claiming that Jesus is speaking to him, or "the father" as Christians call it?

Yes he is Christian. He just claims that "god" spoke to him when he was seven years old, nothing fancy, just a word or something as he was praying -- I forget what it was.
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20-08-2015, 10:30 PM
RE: How do I respectfully tell my brother that I don't believe God spoke to him?
Maybe if you could show him what a fantastic claim it is to expect someone to believe.
As for being respectful, he's not being very respectful to you by putting you in a position where you can't speak your mind without offending him.
It might be best to just drop the issue.
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20-08-2015, 11:02 PM
RE: How do I respectfully tell my brother that I don't believe God spoke to him?
(20-08-2015 09:10 PM)RussianMafia Wrote:  
After a lengthy e-mail debate on our opposing views in which my brother informed me that god spoke to him as a child and also informed me of various "bonafide" miracles that have happened to him in his life, he is asking me why I don't believe what he says (because it's the truth!). He just can't fathom how his personal accounts of god have not converted me and he is already a little touchy on the whole subject now. How do I tell him I don't believe him, but be respectful at the same time? All I could think of is to say that I believe that he believes that stuff
. ? Consider

Tell him that you are skeptical, and if these things really happened, he should be able to provide solid evidence that they did. If he can't, then it's not your problem.

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

~ Umberto Eco
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20-08-2015, 11:05 PM
RE: How do I respectfully tell my brother that I don't believe God spoke to him?
No, I'm with the others... it's not worth having that fight.

The human brain is a pattern-finding computer. It produces all kinds of fantastical notions, but you're not going to "win" with your brother by discussing psychology and neuroscience.

Like I said, just work on understanding his reasons for delusion, for yourself, and leave your brother's delusions alone. There is no scenario where you come out unharmed by having that discussion.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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20-08-2015, 11:20 PM
RE: How do I respectfully tell my brother that I don't believe God spoke to him?
Well, I had come up with what I thought was a half-way decent argument for you, but I have a little error in my fact checking. Basically, it is the Jewish position that God isn't speaking to anybody and that the doors of prophesy were slammed shut after Malachi. Given that the Hebrew Scriptures are the foundation on which Christianity is built, I would expect that your brother would accept a Jewish point of view on this matter. -It's just that it turns out that this concept is detailed in the Talmud and not the OT. I'm not sure if my suggestion will be useful since you can't source it back to a text that he accepts as valid.

You might challenge your brother to explain why after Malachi, there was no prophesy ever again until Jesus, and state that you find it odd that the closer the OT comes to a close, the more it seems that the writers are preparing their audience for a long period of silence..... and that this was followed by a long period of silence.... and that regular prophesy, as described in the OT never returned again.

You might suggest to your brother that in biblical times, when G-d spoke to you, you were expected to validate your prophesy to show that you weren't just making it all up. Suggest to your brother that in the spirit of bible, you should conduct a test to see if God is indeed giving him reliable information each and every time that he hears God talking, then calculate your findings together to decide if your results are significant.

If your brother is still a kid, though, I'd wait to see if he doesn't just grow out of it.

Best of luck!
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