Tonight's Experience
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22-06-2013, 09:34 PM (This post was last modified: 22-06-2013 09:38 PM by jkshrout.)
Tonight's Experience
I've been a member here for awhile but haven't posted in a long time. However, my experience tonight was what brought me back here, because I've never had a more stressful social experience in my life.

Now, I identify myself as a social liberal; I'm pro-LGBT marriage, pro-choice, anti-death penalty, etc., but I'm not a liberal through and through with all of my politics (for example, I have zero tolerance for illegal immigration, but that's another discussion for another day). Obviously I'm an atheist as well, formerly Jewish.

Anyway, I just graduated high school yesterday so I've been going to graduation parties lately, and my best friend invited me to his tonight. I'd assumed it was a bunch of friends, but it ended up being his extended family. Now, he's fairly moderate in his politics and doesn't necessarily identify with any sort of religion (nor does he think of himself as an atheist), but his parents are very Christian. Still, they're good people; they know I'm an atheist and they're still very kind and generous to me, and they've never mistreated anyone who was of a different religion or sexual orientation, even if they think it's inherently wrong. I get along fine with his parents. However, his extended family makes his parents look like Bill Maher.

For the most part, they're friendly people, but they're highly conservative religious zealots. One of them believes cancer is a punishment from Satan himself. She asked me what my beliefs were and to avoid any kind of unwanted conversion therapy, I told her I was Jewish, at which point she went on and on about how I was of "the chosen people" and whatnot. She kept talking about how all other religions were false and was disgusted that schools were teaching about Islam in history class; not preaching it, just teaching about its existence, which is ridiculous, because, like it or not, Islam has had a huge influence in world events and it'd be moronic NOT to acknowledge it.

Beyond that, they catch one whiff of liberal ideology and jump down my throat. They spout whatever they hear on Fox News, and because I just want to enjoy dinner in peace, I don't argue back. Nearly everything they say is factually incorrect, but I don't wanna get into a heated debate.

When I wasn't at the table, I could hear them reaffirming their fantasies and political beliefs and talking about how I was too young to understand politics. I very much have a stake in politics. I plan on majoring in political science at State University of New York - Binghamton, which they also seemed to take issue with because they were afraid Binghamton (one of the best public colleges in NY) would liberalize and secularize me. One of them said to keep asking my professors questions until they saw the truth in Jesus.

I don't mean to bad mouth them. I was cordial and stayed on their good sides even as they surrounded me like wolves on the hunt. But I just got home and now I'm kinda stressed and burnt out. Now I know I was invited because my friend needed me there, and I'd easily do that for him again, but damn, I felt like I was on another planet. I've never been so overwhelmed before and them patronizing me when they were clearly wrong didn't help.

So that's my story. I'm sure you've got worse stories, some of you. It's just that this was my first experience with very fundamental Christians and I was outnumbered fifteen to one AT LEAST. I dunno, I just felt like I needed to tell someone and I figured you guys have been good to me and probably have had similar experiences, so after about a year and a half of inactivity, I was driven back into the arms of The Thinking Atheist forums.

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"Remember, Jesus would rather constantly shame gays than let orphans have a family."
-Stephen Colbert
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22-06-2013, 09:49 PM
RE: Tonight's Experience
Sorry you had to deal with that crap, kudos for keeping your cool; I don't think I could have done it.

Welcome back!

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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22-06-2013, 09:54 PM
RE: Tonight's Experience
Well, then. Welcome back. Thumbsup

I'm terrible at that kinda stuff, that social restraint... especially if there's alcohol involved. Big Grin

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22-06-2013, 09:59 PM
RE: Tonight's Experience
I suppose I might be able to contain myself for a friend's sake.
But I wouldn't bet any serious amount of money on it.

Welcome back, please stick around.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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22-06-2013, 10:03 PM
RE: Tonight's Experience
Thanks guys, I did miss this place. I think the biggest issue I had with tonight's events was the condescension and patronizing. I'm smarter than all of them combined, and I easily could've proven them all wrong. Their logic sucked. For example, they said that a good politician should never compromise and should stand behind his principles, but then they were talking about how great the Republicans were for compromising and how the Democrats always try to be difficult. Now, whether you believe that's true or not is up to you. It's not the point. The point is that they clearly were speaking out of loyalty and not thinking logically. Both halves of their statement were fine. Together, they were just idiotic. And there was much more like it.

I could've proven them wrong so easily, asserted my points so well as I tend to do, and objectively crushed them, but I chose not to. I was being civil and polite and I let them walk all over me. I sorta have an ego about my intellect, so having someone patronize me ("Oh, he's too young to understand these issues") like that and not doing anything about it just enrages me. I'm fine with being wrong; I've had debates here where I've conceded the debate because my point of view shifted. But I don't like looking wrong when I know I'm right.

Goddamn fundamentalists. As bad as my experience was though, I feel bad for my friend, who has to see them every Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.

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"Remember, Jesus would rather constantly shame gays than let orphans have a family."
-Stephen Colbert
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22-06-2013, 10:16 PM
RE: Tonight's Experience
(22-06-2013 09:34 PM)jkshrout Wrote:  Beyond that, they catch one whiff of liberal ideology and jump down my throat. They spout whatever they hear on Fox News, and because I just want to enjoy dinner in peace, I don't argue back. Nearly everything they say is factually incorrect, but I don't wanna get into a heated debate.

It was a wise choice not to say anything. I congratulate you. See...not all people can be reasoned with in all situations, and this looks like one of them. And you will see many more of these situations in the years to come!

When I was your age, I was not so wise as yourself: I probably would have jumped right in and caused all hell to break loose - and got nothing positive accomplished.

Good job.

Julius
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22-06-2013, 10:16 PM
RE: Tonight's Experience
Yeah, those evil 6 year olds with Leukemia are SO evil. Weeping

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein
Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
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22-06-2013, 10:33 PM (This post was last modified: 22-06-2013 10:37 PM by ShirubaDangan.)
RE: Tonight's Experience
*Is born from illegal immigrants*

I can completely understand that feeling though. Unfortunately, since I was raised with many strong fundamentalist Christians and Catholics, I know how it is to realize how blatantly wrong they are and bite your tongue out of preventing any commotion.

I always like to get into debates about anything but I would strongly advise against debating with them. Since it would likely end up as a yelling contest or just arguing about simply wanting to believe without any factual information.

Although they exist, I believe we are changing the country in a large way they disgust and only reaffirms their beliefs. Homosexuality now will definitely be allowed in our lifetimes, abortion has remained legal even under attacks and creation still can't get a strong foothold in science classes which is great.

I believe they will be a dying breed, one which cannot live as we continue to take steps in a more rational world. They may spout all these random accusations and blatant lies but I believe it only reveals how scared they are at how fast we are moving forward. No more unnecessary bonds to hold people down.

Of course, I recommend to stay polite but the best thing you can do against ignorance like that is to live a life to try and gain knowledge and understanding about this world. Be a part of the people who will stand on the achievements of those before you and don't hold back like those that don't understand.

Christian's are definitely nice people, I have no issue with them or their personal decisions but it is when they wish to push their views on others and remain ignorant to those they don't understand that worries me. The best you can do is remain friendly and you can decide on revealing your views if you wish.

I think you did great and kept your calm. You may never be able to change these people's minds but what you can do is change the future and you seem to have it settled out so I believe you should definitely focus on that and help us move forward.

"Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind." -John F Kennedy

The way to see by Faith is to shut the eye of Reason.” -Benjamin Franklin

It has been a long time. How have you been?
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23-06-2013, 05:18 AM
RE: Tonight's Experience
I find it best to try to get them to argue with each other if possible.
Never make yourself the target.
If they ask "So what do you think about so & so topic"

Reply "It's not very often I get the chance to talk with someone like yourself, someone who has experienced the world in ways I have yet to discover. I would be fascinated to hear what you have to say and if "insert name" could join us, I would love to hear if their view point is exactly the same as yours."

Let the two of them argue for a while as you slip away.

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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23-06-2013, 07:03 AM
RE: Tonight's Experience
People like that make me nauseous. They are so far away from any sound reasoning, and I just mean common sense, that it is impossible to talk to them.

Good on you for sticking it out, I have done so too on various occasions. It's annoying, but it is also a learning experience regarding human nature.

Luckily the tide is slowly changing and hopefully eventually there will be fundies at parties where most everyone is atheist - will be interesting to see how they cope then.

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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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