Need advice from fellow atheists
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25-05-2012, 11:48 AM
RE: Need advice from fellow atheists
(25-05-2012 11:42 AM)Seasbury Wrote:  
(25-05-2012 11:31 AM)Dom Wrote:  I disagree vehemently! Some elderly may become cranky - usually because their bodies don't let them live up to expectations anymore - their own or those of others.
I've read a bit of research that indicates the frontal lobe in the brain (that which is your filter) shrinks with age -- it explains why many of the elderly tend to just blurt out what's on their minds regardless of who it might offend. When they were younger, they might've thought those things, but had the better sense than to say it - that seems to dissipate with age. I'm actually looking forward to the day... Wink

That can be construed as cranky to some...


True, if it's a negative it can be sounding cranky. But, if it's positive, it can sound quite nice.... so we still get back on what the living environment is. This is why it's often called "second childhood". "Out of the mouth of babes" - or old folk. Smile

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25-05-2012, 12:17 PM
RE: Need advice from fellow atheists
Guess I should have quantified that by saying "SOME...". Unsure

And I don't mean cranky in any negative way... I suppose I actually mean... hmm... cantankerous isn't even the exact word. Confused Laughat
Consider I'm thinking.... I'm thinking.... Nope, gonna have to make something up. Angel

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I once saw Kaptan Kangaroo give a talk about the word "geezer". He noticed that the word wasn't clearly defined in the dictionary - at least not well enough for him. He decided it was a noun assigned to people, but derived from the word geyser: A hot spring in which water intermittently boils, sending a tall column of water and steam into the air. In his newly realized assessment of this word, he couldn't wait to be come an "old geezer". He was going to relish the freedom to spout off - to speak his mind and blow off steam. He reasoned that it might be his last chance to make a sound in the world that anyone might bother to listen to.

I always remember this... and frankly... I too, can not wait to become an old geezer! Shouldn't be too long now...

Maybe, I'm already there. Wink

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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26-05-2012, 05:42 AM
RE: Need advice from fellow atheists
Thanks for all the advice folks. To clarify a couple things: I have no intention of pushing for a confrontation. As I said in the OP, I have had my say already and feel no need to bring it up again. It is that I feel my dad (who has been cantankerous long before you could blame it on age) is going to force a confrontation at some point and I don't want to be caught off guard or without some kind of strategy, since that would most likely lead to a full-on shouting match. I do intent to leave it alone as long as he lets me, but he IS confrontational as a rule, so I don't expect that he will let it lie forever.
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26-05-2012, 12:36 PM
RE: Need advice from fellow atheists
(26-05-2012 05:42 AM)BadKnees Wrote:  Thanks for all the advice folks. To clarify a couple things: I have no intention of pushing for a confrontation. As I said in the OP, I have had my say already and feel no need to bring it up again. It is that I feel my dad (who has been cantankerous long before you could blame it on age) is going to force a confrontation at some point and I don't want to be caught off guard or without some kind of strategy, since that would most likely lead to a full-on shouting match. I do intent to leave it alone as long as he lets me, but he IS confrontational as a rule, so I don't expect that he will let it lie forever.


It's very hard to make suggestions here, given we don't really know the participants.

Under the circumstances above, if I were you, I would settle down when the confrontation comes. I would be as quiet as possible, just nodding. I would ask the occasional question about HIS position and refrain from commenting on it or stating mine in contrast. Basically, I would let him get it off his chest, and look like I was listening intently and was interested. Under no circumstances would I comment on anything. If choking on wanting to comment, I would ask a friendly and innocuous question instead. Let him do ALL the talking.

Keep him going as long as you can, until he has totally run out of words and you have totally run out of innocuous questions. Not loaded questions, unoffensive ones that just show your willingness to listen.

Once he has run out of things to say, still be quiet and he will pop the question, figuring he had done a good job since you have been interested and cooperative.

Then you say you appreciate his taking the time to explain his position to you (or something equally encouraging and friendly) and that you will think about it. Done.

There may be a repeat performance at some point, and there may not be. The idea is to let him feel that he has given it his best and that you are open to his concepts. No more and no less.

He has to get this off his chest, and he has to feel that you actually listened. That will make him feel better about himself and his role in your life. So, if you want him to be happy, give him that.

Unless he starts talking about it, don't go anywhere near religion. If he wants to talk about it, be supportive and encouraging. Like you are the psychologist and he is the patient. You don't get involved in what he says, you just encourage him to get it off his chest.

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26-05-2012, 02:31 PM
RE: Need advice from fellow atheists
Have you considered just writing out a "I don't want to talk about it" letter outlining that you find the evidence lacks credibility and how your relationship with your parents is more important to you then religion is?

If you don't give two hoots about what they believe can't they extend you that same courtesy?

I'd recommend writing a civic e-mail or letter stating you see the conflict coming then let things explode.
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26-05-2012, 02:49 PM
RE: Need advice from fellow atheists
(26-05-2012 12:36 PM)Dom Wrote:  He has to get this off his chest, and he has to feel that you actually listened. That will make him feel better about himself and his role in your life. So, if you want him to be happy, give him that.
Yep, he's got the guilt that if he doesn't do something then he's failed. After fighting the good fight, he'll eventually run out of battles. And finally, he'll see that war isn't all that important, anyway.

Thumbsup Dom's right; at this point in your relationship with your old man, it's going to be a giving thing.

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26-05-2012, 07:05 PM
RE: Need advice from fellow atheists
Thanks Dom, that sounds as right as I can manage to make a not so right situation. I just hope I can maintain the moral high ground when he starts pushing my buttons. I will try.
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26-05-2012, 08:41 PM
RE: Need advice from fellow atheists
(26-05-2012 07:05 PM)BadKnees Wrote:  Thanks Dom, that sounds as right as I can manage to make a not so right situation. I just hope I can maintain the moral high ground when he starts pushing my buttons. I will try.


Just stick with pretending you are a psychologist and he is a patient.

You can't get involved in your patient's thoughts, you can only observe them. You can't judge them, you only collect them.

The content of what he says is totally irrelevant, your job is to keep him talking. Your job is to get him to express himself completely without any fear of judgement.

You are practicing the science of psychology, not talking to your dad.

When he asks a question that pushes a button, you just say "let me think about that" and return a harmless question that will make him talk more. He will talk himself out eventually. Just don't talk. Don't answer questions. He gets to talk until he has nothing more to say.

I have used this several times and it works quite well. I have several "saviors" who are content that they have planted a seed in my head and that they have done all they can to save me. Occasionally they ask if I have thought about everything, and I say "yes, and I am still thinking, give me some time, this is not a small thing. "

Good luck, and let us know how it turns out, if it happens at all. There is always the chance he won't start in on it....

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27-05-2012, 03:11 PM
RE: Need advice from fellow atheists
BadKnees;
My dad and I disagree on politics. Whenever possible, I try and focus on that which we agree on, and when we hit on something that we dont, we both try to explore the other's thoughts respectfully. Doesnt mean every interaction has gone stellar, but we love each other and work hard to keep our communications positive.
If you have noticed an increase in religious references from your parents, is it possible there is something that has them anxious or stressed that you dont know about? Consider gently exploring. It may just be "we are getting old and dont want to die knowing you have forsaken your faith" or there may be something else. And even if it is the former, you can always sincerely thank them for their love and concern.

Your beliefs do not make you a better person, your behavior does.
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29-05-2012, 09:53 AM
RE: Need advice from fellow atheists
(27-05-2012 03:11 PM)Debzilla Wrote:  BadKnees;
My dad and I disagree on politics. Whenever possible, I try and focus on that which we agree on, and when we hit on something that we dont, we both try to explore the other's thoughts respectfully. Doesnt mean every interaction has gone stellar, but we love each other and work hard to keep our communications positive.
If you have noticed an increase in religious references from your parents, is it possible there is something that has them anxious or stressed that you dont know about? Consider gently exploring. It may just be "we are getting old and dont want to die knowing you have forsaken your faith" or there may be something else. And even if it is the former, you can always sincerely thank them for their love and concern.
Thanks Debzilla,
I don't know of any new reason that they might have, other than their ongoing health issues, which can be severe at times, but they haven't indicated anything new or severe that might be triggering this and they tend to be pretty open about their health concerns.

It's more just recognizing a pattern that has happened between us in other contexts when we disagree. I state my position, then he tries vehemently and protracted-ly--sometimes for several hours--to talk me over to his opinion. After that initial "conversation" (more of a lecture, really), he then acts like it never happened for a time--months to years in some instances--and then eventually returns to the topic, usually after I have completely put it out of my mind.

I don't know if its a conscious choice on his part, but it is an intellectual ambush, sometimes blatantly so, and that tactic as much as anything tends to get me hot under the collar, which is what I'm hoping to avoid here.
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