How do I respectfully tell my brother that I don't believe God spoke to him?
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20-08-2015, 11:41 PM
RE: How do I respectfully tell my brother that I don't believe God spoke to him?
I've composed a reply, and I'm with most of you -- it's not worth fighting over, but I've got to at least get my two cents in. (And Aliza, he is in his 30s and should be grown up by now.) Smile If anybody's interested I'll post a bit of it below:

He said, “The main jist(sic) I get is that you don't believe people, no matter how close they are to you or no matter if they didn't have a reason to lie.” So what you’re saying is that because someone is close to me, I should believe anything they say no matter what? If you told me that you just won the lottery I would most likely believe you, because I believe in the lottery and know that it exists. Just because I don’t believe in something that you believe does not mean I think you’re lying. I believe that you believe in those things that happened to you and to people in your life. I’m not calling you a liar. All I’m saying is that I don’t believe in god, therefore I don’t believe that he talks to people. My beliefs (or lack thereof) should have no bearing on your personal experiences! Those are your miracles for a reason, Forrest, and I am truly happy that you are so happy. Insinuating that I don’t “trust your word” is a pretty hurtful way to try and command belief out of me and it makes me feel bad when you put it the way you did. All I know is that it doesn’t matter what I believe, or what you believe, or what anybody believes because it makes no difference and I am still going to love you unconditionally because you are my family (and I would hope you would do the same). If you feel like this debate was a waste of time like you said then by all means let this be the last e-mail; because if your only goal was to convert me then it was a waste of time. I personally enjoy sharing both of our opinions and getting to know you a little better in the process."

Another problem I'm having with this particular rebuttal is his accusation that science is a faulty belief because theories are constantly changing and therefore proving themselves wrong. I can't figure out how to put it, other than no duh you dumbf***, theories change because they are constantly being tested to make sure they're right! Of course you're going to have few wrong ones down the road! I am very frustrated with this particular side of the argument because I can't compose the right defense. Here's what I have:

He says: "You’re basing your life’s beliefs off of a system with a proven history of continued failure!" I say: I don’t even know how to answer this question. It’s like saying if you get something wrong once, everything after that is going to be wrong too so you’re just wrong no matter what. Altering the way something is done or the way something is viewed because of new knowledge on a topic is not failure, it is advancement. Advancement would never happen if things weren’t unproven or improved upon all the time! This goes back to the world being flat thing. That is the whole point of science – to try and prove yourself wrong as many times and ways as you can until you arrive at the best possible conclusion. I find it hard to understand the fault in changing something based on new evidence. Just because they found a better way to do something doesn’t mean that the entire thing is a sham. That’s like giving someone a basketball who has never played basketball in their life and doesn’t know the rules of the game – sure they’re going to suck at first and will do everything wrong, but as they get new information about the game and learn how it works they will get better at it and eventually perfect it. Does the fact that they knew very little about the game to begin with discredit their current ability?

Thanks for the input everyone, and sorry for the long post...
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20-08-2015, 11:45 PM
RE: How do I respectfully tell my brother that I don't believe God spoke to him?
Hug
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20-08-2015, 11:54 PM
RE: How do I respectfully tell my brother that I don't believe God spoke to him?
You're right, what he did was emotional blackmail.

All acceptable, In the Name Of Gawd™, of course.

Excellent analogy for how science works, by the way.

"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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21-08-2015, 12:02 AM
RE: How do I respectfully tell my brother that I don't believe God spoke to him?
(20-08-2015 11:54 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  You're right, what he did was emotional blackmail.

All acceptable, In the Name Of Gawd™, of course.

Excellent analogy for how science works, by the way.

Thank you, that makes me feel a little better! Big Grin
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21-08-2015, 05:37 AM
RE: How do I respectfully tell my brother that I don't believe God spoke to him?
In your shoes, I would say I accepted that he had an experience, but I don't agree with his interpretation of that experience. Maybe reassure him that you don't think he's crazy, but at age 7 the brain isn't fully developed, etc., etc. I would also let him know, since you're both adults at this point, that he's made his beliefs clear and you have heard what he's saying, but don't agree and don't want to talk about it more.

My fundamentalist father once wrote me a nine-page letter about exorcising multiple demons while on a date with a woman. I was about 21 at this point. The demons made themselves present once he got back to her house and came in for coffee. He ended up tying her to a chair and commanding the demons to come out, and one by one they did, and afterwards they were both "exhausted." My interpretation of the event was that she didn't want him to leave, and neither did he, and the two of them deluded themselves and led each other into this crazy story; however, I did not share that thought with him. I wrote back to him that it sounded like an interesting evening and left it at that. Sometimes there's just not much you can say.
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22-08-2015, 01:28 AM
RE: How do I respectfully tell my brother that I don't believe God spoke to him?
Respectfully, Julep, I think your father was employing a euphemism to tell you he got laid. Tongue

"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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22-08-2015, 05:43 AM
RE: How do I respectfully tell my brother that I don't believe God spoke to him?
(22-08-2015 01:28 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  Respectfully, Julep, I think your father was employing a euphemism to tell you he got laid. Tongue

You don't know how much I wish that were true. And of course that was the problem: he wanted to get laid but couldn't bring himself to do so, because God. The letter in question was xeroxed and sent to all of us three children and went into excruciating detail (names of the demons, which were generic, including anger and of course lust). My father believes in demons and claims to have performed other exorcisms since.
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22-08-2015, 06:43 AM
RE: How do I respectfully tell my brother that I don't believe God spoke to him?
(22-08-2015 05:43 AM)julep Wrote:  
(22-08-2015 01:28 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  Respectfully, Julep, I think your father was employing a euphemism to tell you he got laid. Tongue

You don't know how much I wish that were true. And of course that was the problem: he wanted to get laid but couldn't bring himself to do so, because God. The letter in question was xeroxed and sent to all of us three children and went into excruciating detail (names of the demons, which were generic, including anger and of course lust). My father believes in demons and claims to have performed other exorcisms since.

Your father is, unfortunately, delusional. And potentially dangerous.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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22-08-2015, 07:32 AM
RE: How do I respectfully tell my brother that I don't believe God spoke to him?
Julep - I know, I was just trying to find a little humor in an awful situation. My parents are also literal believers in demons that control people's minds, and mom is an active participant in a group called "Prayer Warriors" who literally believe that their prayers empower the angels to protect us from those demons. This is the environment in which I grew up. I get it. Sad

Luckily, my parents are still married and (relatively) happy, so I didn't have to deal with watching the psychological breakdown caused by the cognitive dissonance between their natural humanity and their church dogma.

"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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22-08-2015, 08:44 AM
RE: How do I respectfully tell my brother that I don't believe God spoke to him?
(22-08-2015 07:32 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  Julep - I know, I was just trying to find a little humor in an awful situation. My parents are also literal believers in demons that control people's minds, and mom is an active participant in a group called "Prayer Warriors" who literally believe that their prayers empower the angels to protect us from those demons. This is the environment in which I grew up. I get it. Sad

Luckily, my parents are still married and (relatively) happy, so I didn't have to deal with watching the psychological breakdown caused by the cognitive dissonance between their natural humanity and their church dogma.

Got it! I'm foggy this morning because the hotel clock was set an hour fast, so I was reading before my brain had started to function.
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