How to deal with proselytizing family Theists?
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19-12-2013, 09:26 AM
RE: How to deal with proselytizing family Theists?
(18-12-2013 11:53 AM)Freethought Wrote:  Since I've been declining their invitations for me to join them in their religious ceremonies, they treat me as some sort of wounded puppy, a poor rebellious teen going through a ''phase''.

Yeah, there's a good chance my dad thinks I'm going through a phase, and I came out when I was 31. We never really discussed it, but I'd said something to the effect of "needing to know that I really believed this" before I started teaching my daughter, and he said something like "No you don't. I've gone through periods where I believe more or less than other times."

Now, I don't know if he ever fell into the "nonbeliever" camp or not, but he seems to see "belief" as being something in flux, and I must be at the low end for the time being. Of course, it's a lot easier for a Christian to label an ex-Christian as "going through a phase" because it makes it a lot more likely that you'll come back into the fold, in their eyes. Don't forget that the majority of Christians believe that non-Christians are on the road to eternal torture and are on a sharp time line to fix that shit. It's deeply uncomfortable to many of them, but it's what they believe.


(18-12-2013 11:53 AM)Freethought Wrote:  In the future, I'll try my best to act accordingly to when they bring up religion. Sometimes I try to leave the area if my family is discussing with themselves about how beautiful religion is etc, because they know I'm there and they want to indirectly say things to me while avoiding confrontation. Other times, I outright ignore their questions such as, how many animals did Noah bring on the arch. I find it sometimes rude to ignore such a direct question, but I think I'll find it the better option rather than to make the situation more awkward by ''playing into their bait'' as someone above wrote.

I find it truly bizarre that someone who knows you don't believe would ask you a question like that, point blank. I guess the best answer would be something to the effect of "I don't see any reason to believe that the flood myth happened" or some such. Of course, you're setting yourself up for a nasty (and stupid) debate on the flood (those never go well), but at least you're not ignoring them.

I guess, to me, it seems more reasonable to say "I don't want to talk about it" to a debate on the flood than to a single, simple question.


(18-12-2013 11:53 AM)Freethought Wrote:  PS: What are the chances that another user has the name 'Free Thought'! I feel like a usurper!

On an atheist message board? I'm surprised you didn't have to resort to FreeThought6969, _Free_Thought_, or Fr33Th0ught, or something. Tongue
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19-12-2013, 01:01 PM
RE: How to deal with proselytizing family Theists?
My situation gives me MUCH hilarity. My family is generally ok with my atheism, provided I don't mock their faith to my 9 and 13 year old siblings. And I don't, so no one is too bothered by it. What is funny to me is that my agnostic father is more critical than my devoutly catholic mother. Perhaps this is because only she and I have actually read the bible, and when I explained she was able to understand. (She also laughs when I make jokes about the description of the construction of the magic cookie jar in exodus).

My approaches to my two parents are different. My mother I can speak to rationally. I tell her that I'm sorry but it's not for me. That if it works for her fine, but it's not for me. We can do this because we both are rational, and share the same philosophy aside from our belief in a supernatural overseer. She does not dispute that the bible is not factually accurate, unlike my grandmother whom I generally avoid the subject with.

My father though I generally ignore, or just smile and nod. He is stubborn, and insists that he is always right (even in my own field, which is beyond irritating). He doesn't listen to arguments and while this makes for a good lawyer it does not make for rational arguments. I am left with only one option, to tune him out.
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19-12-2013, 01:41 PM
RE: How to deal with proselytizing family Theists?
(18-12-2013 11:53 AM)Freethought Wrote:  Other times, I outright ignore their questions such as, how many animals did Noah bring on the arch. I find it sometimes rude to ignore such a direct question, but I think I'll find it the better option rather than to make the situation more awkward by ''playing into their bait'' as someone above wrote.

It's not rude to ignore a direct question if it has nothing to do with reality as you know it. If someone directly confronts you and says, "Exactly what do you think about X?" and demands an answer, there is nothing rude about supplying confrontation right back.

Since you are being pressured into some kind of acknowledgement of X, just let them know that this is not a question of relevance in your life and you have no thoughts on it whatsoever. You could also say something like, "Well, I think X might be something that concerns you, not me." And to get back on track you might want to add, "I thought we were talking about Y."

Maybe it's time for them to see that they might be pushing you away with their unfocused (delusional) conversation and manipulative behavior. If any of your relatives ask why you are distant, just tell them that you don't want to be around that kind of behavior - that you want to be around people who talk about regular stuff that doesn't involve some religious connection... then add ... "Like the way it used to be with us."

If they say, "Well, you never minded discussing X before." your retort might need to be, "No, you never discussed X that much before I made my views known. Now it's constantly." People need to know; inform them. Just be honest.

You're 16... so, that's around the time you'll gradually start pulling away from family to start making your own life, anyway. It's kind of a natural thing. Shy

Relax, stay cool and aloof, and you'll make it through the holidays just fine. Wink

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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19-12-2013, 02:59 PM
RE: How to deal with proselytizing family Theists?
Ft jr,
Assuming you're a young male, science tells us, the odds are against you as far as communication is concerned (http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.v...ferently/)

Having said that, and on top of what everyone has recommended in this thread, adding some comedy into the conversations has the effect to lower down mental defenses your believing family has and also aids you in making the point that their religion is just ridiculous when looked from an outsider's POV.

Hang in there!

“The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is because vampires are allergic to bullshit.” ― Richard Pryor
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19-12-2013, 03:10 PM
RE: How to deal with proselytizing family Theists?
my favorite for my in-laws :

Oh I'm sorry, I wasn't paying attention. I tune out when you all start talking about that stuff, and didn't hear a thing, what did I miss?



usually after the 2nd or 3rd time they get frustrated with me and STFU.


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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19-12-2013, 03:13 PM
RE: How to deal with proselytizing family Theists?
Diversion is always good too.


LOOK! Squirrel! Did you see that?!

excuse me, I gotta pee, be right back.


But really, you need to find a way to say directly….I don't want to discuss this topic with you.


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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