My religious friend
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15-02-2014, 07:13 AM (This post was last modified: 15-02-2014 07:17 AM by Dom.)
My religious friend
So yesterday was interesting.

I have a friend who is very religious. She did quit going to church about a year ago after decades of going twice a week. She had had a knee replacement and couldn't kneel during service. After church let out, several members came up and chastised her for not kneeling when it was required, without asking questions. It hurt her feelings a lot and she quit going to church all together.

So now she gets a daily bible verse in her email and she studies that.

Well, yesterday we were talking and she says: "You know, it's really unjust that we have to die".

I said: "How so? Everything alive dies and makes room for something new. "

She says: "well, we have to die because of Adam and Eve sinning in Paradise. Then Jesus died on the cross for us so we would be forgiven our sins. So, if we were forgiven our sins, how come we still have to die?"

I wanted to tread very, very lightly, this lady is someone I like a lot and she is smart, but uneducated. All her education came from the church. Super brain washed. This is the first time I heard any doubts from her at all. I credit the absence of church while she reads the bible verses - for once she is left to make her own interpretations.

So I just explained to her that the bible was a very, very old book, and that she should look at it more as a book of fables. That she shouldn't take the stories literal, but as stories that are supposed to teach something. I went into how stories get distorted over time as they are told over and over again by different people, and how the bible wasn't written at the time these things happened but generations later.

Then I changed the subject and figured I would need to let her digest this for a while before venturing any further.

I wonder what I might tackle with her next. I do not want to spook her, she is older than me and I'm no spring chicken, and she has a life time of indoctrination behind her. But, she has started to think, and I was very surprised to hear her question something from her religion. I don't want to stomp on that little seed of doubt, but I want to carefully water it without drowning it.

So, any suggestions as to what the next baby step should be?


P.S. Our conversation rarely touches on religion, so I also want to do this over a lengthy period of time, if we suddenly switch to all religious talks it might alarm her. I don't want to scare her off the subject, she is aware of my atheism.

[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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15-02-2014, 07:20 AM
RE: My religious friend
(15-02-2014 07:13 AM)Dom Wrote:  ...
I wanted to tread very, very lightly,
...
So I just explained to her that the bible
...

Way to tread lightly! Just telling her that the very foundation for her beliefs was complete bollocks!

I dread to think what treading heavily would have been like.

I'm thinking that if she didn't have a tantrum at that, she can probably cope with anything else you throw at her.

I recommend the "why do you think that?" approach. Just questions, no preaching or teaching.

Let her fuel her own doubts at her own pace.

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15-02-2014, 07:24 AM
RE: My religious friend
(15-02-2014 07:13 AM)Dom Wrote:  So yesterday was interesting.

I have a friend who is very religious. She did quit going to church about a year ago after decades of going twice a week. She had had a knee replacement and couldn't kneel during service. After church let out, several members came up and chastised her for not kneeling when it was required, without asking questions. It hurt her feelings a lot and she quit going to church all together.

So now she gets a daily bible verse in her email and she studies that.

Well, yesterday we were talking and she says: "You know, it's really unjust that we have to die".

I said: "How so? Everything alive dies and makes room for something new. "

She says: "well, we have to die because of Adam and Eve sinning in Paradise. Then Jesus died on the cross for us so we would be forgiven our sins. So, if we were forgiven our sins, how come we still have to die?"

I wanted to tread very, very lightly, this lady is someone I like a lot and she is smart, but uneducated. All her education came from the church. Super brain washed. This is the first time I heard any doubts from her at all. I credit the absence of church while she reads the bible verses - for once she is left to make her own interpretations.

So I just explained to her that the bible was a very, very old book, and that she should look at it more as a book of fables. That she shouldn't take the stories literal, but as stories that are supposed to teach something. I went into how stories get distorted over time as they are told over and over again by different people, and how the bible wasn't written at the time these things happened but generations later.

Then I changed the subject and figured I would need to let her digest this for a while before venturing any further.

I wonder what I might tackle with her next. I do not want to spook her, she is older than me and I'm no spring chicken, and she has a life time of indoctrination behind her. But, she has started to think, and I was very surprised to hear her question something from her religion. I don't want to stomp on that little seed of doubt, but I want to carefully water it without drowning it.

So, any suggestions as to what the next baby step should be?


P.S. Our conversation rarely touches on religion, so I also want to do this over a lengthy period of time, if we suddenly switch to all religious talks it might alarm her. I don't want to scare her off the subject, she is aware of my atheism.

It's winter, she's down in spirit because of her situation, I would give her a "feel good " nugget. Maybe the ideas presented in the "have a physicist at your funeral".

Give her a science lesson that will tell she will live on forever. You don't have to make the topic depressing, more along the lines of what you and Cathy described in that other thread recently.


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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15-02-2014, 07:35 AM
RE: My religious friend
Oh. So you "have a friend" with questions too. Just like fmudd' s "friend" ?? Tongue
Just kidding.
Ask her if she would REALLY want to be alive when she's 150-200 years old, with the problems that would entail. Maybe she means "why do we have to get old" ?
You could talk about that, and how it's useful for the natural rhythm of things.

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15-02-2014, 07:40 AM
RE: My religious friend
(15-02-2014 07:24 AM)Bows and Arrows Wrote:  
(15-02-2014 07:13 AM)Dom Wrote:  So yesterday was interesting.

I have a friend who is very religious. She did quit going to church about a year ago after decades of going twice a week. She had had a knee replacement and couldn't kneel during service. After church let out, several members came up and chastised her for not kneeling when it was required, without asking questions. It hurt her feelings a lot and she quit going to church all together.

So now she gets a daily bible verse in her email and she studies that.

Well, yesterday we were talking and she says: "You know, it's really unjust that we have to die".

I said: "How so? Everything alive dies and makes room for something new. "

She says: "well, we have to die because of Adam and Eve sinning in Paradise. Then Jesus died on the cross for us so we would be forgiven our sins. So, if we were forgiven our sins, how come we still have to die?"

I wanted to tread very, very lightly, this lady is someone I like a lot and she is smart, but uneducated. All her education came from the church. Super brain washed. This is the first time I heard any doubts from her at all. I credit the absence of church while she reads the bible verses - for once she is left to make her own interpretations.

So I just explained to her that the bible was a very, very old book, and that she should look at it more as a book of fables. That she shouldn't take the stories literal, but as stories that are supposed to teach something. I went into how stories get distorted over time as they are told over and over again by different people, and how the bible wasn't written at the time these things happened but generations later.

Then I changed the subject and figured I would need to let her digest this for a while before venturing any further.

I wonder what I might tackle with her next. I do not want to spook her, she is older than me and I'm no spring chicken, and she has a life time of indoctrination behind her. But, she has started to think, and I was very surprised to hear her question something from her religion. I don't want to stomp on that little seed of doubt, but I want to carefully water it without drowning it.

So, any suggestions as to what the next baby step should be?


P.S. Our conversation rarely touches on religion, so I also want to do this over a lengthy period of time, if we suddenly switch to all religious talks it might alarm her. I don't want to scare her off the subject, she is aware of my atheism.

It's winter, she's down in spirit because of her situation, I would give her a "feel good " nugget. Maybe the ideas presented in the "have a physicist at your funeral".

Give her a science lesson that will tell she will live on forever. You don't have to make the topic depressing, more along the lines of what you and Cathy described in that other thread recently.

Yes, she does struggle with depression, she lives alone and has continuing health issues...

I am not so sure though that she is ready to give up on heaven, her entire life is built on the hope of going there...

DLJ, by god you are right! It didn't even occur to me that pointing out that the bible wasn't all fact was such a heavy thing, I thought that giving it credit for having stories worth reading was lending it some validity but yeah, you are right, that was a biggie.

This isn't going to be easy...

[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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15-02-2014, 07:42 AM
RE: My religious friend
Well you can say that it's for the same reason that we must go to hell for. Because it's all part of the wonderful plan. Just like everything is. Diseases and famines and torture. All part of the plan which god set us up for.
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15-02-2014, 07:46 AM
RE: My religious friend
(15-02-2014 07:35 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  Oh. So you "have a friend" with questions too. Just like fmudd' s "friend" ?? Tongue
Just kidding.
Ask her if she would REALLY want to be alive when she's 150-200 years old, with the problems that would entail. Maybe she means "why do we have to get old" ?
You could talk about that, and how it's useful for the natural rhythm of things.

I think she felt betrayed by god - because Jesus was supposed to forgive all sin and yet we are having to die because of what happened in paradise, so not all is forgiven. I think this is quite the biggie for her. It has been way too long for me since I believed everything in the bible, and I have forgotten most of it by now. But feeling betrayed by god has got to be a doozie for her. I think the death part is probably less important than the betrayal...

[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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15-02-2014, 09:19 AM
RE: My religious friend
I find planning for these things is useless, since it's up to her if she does bring up the topic with you.

I would just wait and see if she does bring it up, and if she does see what she has to say. Touching on the bible being fables was a good point. I would let it sit with her a bit.

I assume that she knows that you're atheist?


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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15-02-2014, 09:26 AM
RE: My religious friend
(15-02-2014 09:19 AM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  I find planning for these things is useless, since it's up to her if she does bring up the topic with you.

I would just wait and see if she does bring it up, and if she does see what she has to say. Touching on the bible being fables was a good point. I would let it sit with her a bit.

I assume that she knows that you're atheist?

Yes, she does. We never discussed it though. Religion is not a common topic, we talk about most anything in the world other than religion. We acknowledged that one of us is religious and the other not, and were done with the topic.

I do plan to wait til it comes up again, I just want to make sure I don't start getting carried away and scaring her off. I am so pleased that she is starting to think for herself now....

[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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15-02-2014, 09:38 AM
RE: My religious friend
(15-02-2014 09:26 AM)Dom Wrote:  
(15-02-2014 09:19 AM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  I find planning for these things is useless, since it's up to her if she does bring up the topic with you.

I would just wait and see if she does bring it up, and if she does see what she has to say. Touching on the bible being fables was a good point. I would let it sit with her a bit.

I assume that she knows that you're atheist?

Yes, she does. We never discussed it though. Religion is not a common topic, we talk about most anything in the world other than religion. We acknowledged that one of us is religious and the other not, and were done with the topic.

I do plan to wait til it comes up again, I just want to make sure I don't start getting carried away and scaring her off. I am so pleased that she is starting to think for herself now....

I find it forever interesting that people who are religious often turn to people they know are atheist. Like your friend going to you.

She could just be disgruntled with her church, since giving it that up, now feels more disconnected to the god thing. It can be a big gateway to atheism.

Most of my theist type friends can't help to bring up Pascal's wager, especially if they're heavily indoctrinated.

I'm sure you know what to do with that. Big Grin


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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