Soon to be father-in-law wants me to have a sit down with his pastor...
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08-03-2014, 10:36 AM (This post was last modified: 08-03-2014 12:01 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Soon to be father-in-law wants me to have a sit down with his pastor...
(08-03-2014 01:10 AM)bl510 Wrote:  Well I would definitely not be willing to do the marriage class, and I would absolutely interfere with any religious nonsense that anyone would try and poison my kids with.

I went to a Lutheran school K-9. Still think there's no better method for turning out atheists than a good parochial education. Hell, just look at Bucky's Balls. Goddam atheist has a fucking divinity degree and shit. Big Grin

(08-03-2014 01:10 AM)bl510 Wrote:  I was also thinking of trying to convince him I am the new son of god ...

That was just kinda mutually understood in the brief conversation I had with the church. Tongue

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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08-03-2014, 06:46 PM (This post was last modified: 08-03-2014 06:52 PM by therealJim.)
RE: Soon to be father-in-law wants me to have a sit down with his pastor...
Regarding the demand by your FIL I agree with the others that it's a good idea to try to find out what his intention is. That will give you an idea of what lies ahead regarding his opinion and possible futur behavior. At worst you will have to make it clear to him (in a firm but calm, polite and respectful tone) that you will not allow him to blackmail you (if you do, it is be a very good idea to practice this a few times beforehand, so you will actually keep your cool). He has no right to force you into something you don't want. A good ressource on how to communicate your emotions is "The Emotional Toolkit" by Darlene Mininni, Chapter 11 (Ignore the dustjacket. This book is not just for women. It's really good).

Now in case you want to do this with your sister-in-law on board I suggest the following ressources:
For talking points two good ressources are
The Iron Chariots Wiki (http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Main_Page)
and
The Skeptics Annotated Bible (http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/index.htm)

If you are looking for a good general instruction on debating theists get a copy of
"A Manual for Creating Atheists" by Peter Boghossian
This book is full of scientifically grounded principles, strategies and tactics.

In my experience debating religious people it is best to stay calm, polite and respectful of their faith. Remember most religious people are perfectly nice, friendly and also smart. They have just been exposed to different information than you have. Respect and compassion are of fundamental importance.

As far as strategies go, try the socratic method: Ask questions (How do you know? What makes you think that? etc.). Take your time to understand the other side. Don't let them rush through things. Ask for explanation if you don't understand something. And when you find a whole in their argument, frame your response as question, or politely say you are not fully convinced because X, Y, Z. This helps you avoid the impression of pressuring them into something. This is important because pressure creates resistance and quickly leads to a heated atmosphere.

Above all:
Make it clear to yourself that you will not convert your potential sister-in-law on the spot. Deconversion is a long process. It is an ultra-marathon, not a sprint.

If I were in your position, I would if possible keep your Sister-in-law out of the picture. Get yourself a basic primer on persuasion, science (how it works and its limitations), and counter-apologetics first before you try this. If you want a couple of references to good ressources send me a message.

Good luck and let us know how it works out.
Jim

P.S.: If I may: Here is a suggestion for you and your fiancée. Here are a few ressources on what science has found out about how to live a happy life:
June Gruber "The Dark Side of Happiness" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fi8Mhvsiymo) - will give you a basic idea of what to steer clear of when embarking on that journey (very important)
Sonja Lyubomirsky "The How of Happiness" and "The Myths of Happiness" - Utterly brilliant books on what you can do to live a happy life (just stay away from that questionnaire on evaluating whether someone is depressive, it is very problematic for self-diagnosis (Lyubomirsky confirmed this to me)).
Elizabeth Dunn & Michael Norton "Happy Money" - A nice little book on how to spend money to increase your happiness.
Darlene Mininni "The Emotional Toolkit" - Gives you the tools necessary to deal with bad feelings
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08-03-2014, 07:52 PM
RE: Soon to be father-in-law wants me to have a sit down with his pastor...
(07-03-2014 12:04 AM)bl510 Wrote:  This is my first time posting to any forum and I hope I keep it brief enough.

My soon to be father-in-law recently found out that I am atheist, and also found out that his daughter is now an atheist. He has requested that we have a 3 hour sit down meeting with his pastor (Lutheran church) before our wedding day or he will not walk my wife to be down the aisle (which she wants very much).

I am more than willing to participate in this long discussion, but I was hoping some members of this community would have some words of advice. Both of us grew up in very religious homes and every member of the family is extremely religious. We have just recently come out as being atheist and most of the family doesn't know yet, only a few people.

While I am reasonably educated on science, religions of the world, and our family religion, I have little to no experience discussing this anyone.

I would really appreciate perhaps a few good conversation starters or tips on how to more clearly communicate with someone in that position. This man has been a pastor for like 40 years or more. Any advice that may be helpful in that situation would be sincerely appreciated. Thank you all in advance.

Just say no.

He has no right to ask you to do this, much less to expect it. You and your fiancee need to be able to live your own lives as adults.

Don't do it - nothing good can come of it.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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08-03-2014, 08:55 PM
RE: Soon to be father-in-law wants me to have a sit down with his pastor...
(08-03-2014 07:52 PM)Chas Wrote:  Don't do it - nothing good can come of it.

Bah. Chas has no skills in just playing along.to get along. Big Grin

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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08-03-2014, 08:56 PM
RE: Soon to be father-in-law wants me to have a sit down with his pastor...
I'd be afraid of them pulling an authority thing on your fiancee because she's a woman and a daughter.
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08-03-2014, 09:11 PM
RE: Soon to be father-in-law wants me to have a sit down with his pastor...
A difficult situation to be sure but neither of you are kids and this seems to be more of a problem for your fiancee than you.

I've got to come down on the side of those who call his behavior emotional blackmail. You say you have 18 months until the wedding? If he gets his way this time you can expect to see repeat performances. He doesn't want this holy joe to talk to you, he wants him to convince you to come back to jesus. If it doesn't work you can expect Plan B. The old man doesn't sound like the type who lets go easily.

Ultimately, you have to decide how much, if any, shit you want to take from him.

Good luck.

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08-03-2014, 09:38 PM
RE: Soon to be father-in-law wants me to have a sit down with his pastor...
(08-03-2014 09:11 PM)Minimalist Wrote:  A difficult situation to be sure but neither of you are kids and this seems to be more of a problem for your fiancee than you.

I've got to come down on the side of those who call his behavior emotional blackmail. You say you have 18 months until the wedding? If he gets his way this time you can expect to see repeat performances. He doesn't want this holy joe to talk to you, he wants him to convince you to come back to jesus. If it doesn't work you can expect Plan B. The old man doesn't sound like the type who lets go easily.

Ultimately, you have to decide how much, if any, shit you want to take from him.

Good luck.

This.
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11-03-2014, 11:40 AM
RE: Soon to be father-in-law wants me to have a sit down with his pastor...
(08-03-2014 06:46 PM)therealJim Wrote:  The Skeptics Annotated Bible (http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/index.htm)

This link didn't work for me?

Anybody else pull up the page?
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11-03-2014, 12:02 PM
RE: Soon to be father-in-law wants me to have a sit down with his pastor...
(11-03-2014 11:40 AM)proplayer44 Wrote:  
(08-03-2014 06:46 PM)therealJim Wrote:  The Skeptics Annotated Bible (http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/index.htm)

This link didn't work for me?

Anybody else pull up the page?

Try this one: http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/

"Newton's third law: The only way humans have ever figured out of getting somewhere is to leave something behind." - TARS, Interstellar
"Newtons drittes Gesetz: Der einzige Weg wie Menschen irgendwo hin kommen, ist der dass sie etwas zurücklassen." - TARS, Interstellar
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11-03-2014, 01:44 PM
RE: Soon to be father-in-law wants me to have a sit down with his pastor...
(08-03-2014 08:55 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(08-03-2014 07:52 PM)Chas Wrote:  Don't do it - nothing good can come of it.

Bah. Chas has no skills in just playing along.to get along. Big Grin

You make an astute observation. Consider

Now fuck off. Big Grin

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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