Wish I Had More Backbone in Debates
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22-05-2013, 08:36 PM
Wish I Had More Backbone in Debates
So... I announced I'm an atheist on Facebook earlier this year. I have actually been an atheist for several years and many of my close friends already knew, but some didn't including the person I most worried about telling, my former christian mentor and youth director. Long story short (because that's not really the point of this post), he's been somewhat FB stalking me, following me and commenting on posts, tagging me, calling me ignorant, that I make him sad, and how I failed him, etc. Most recently he sent me a private message where he told me I have been a FB bully, demeaning to Christians, and a Christian basher, among other things.

While I disagree with him (and have written a long response to him that I haven't yet sent), one thing that I struggle with is my desire not to hurt people (something he clearly is not concerned with), and my desire to fully explore my understanding of reality, my former christian self, and in general, just be an honest human being. I try to attack ideas, but not people, but as you probably know, people often take criticism of their ideas personally. It can be a fine line to walk. All of this I've discussed closely with my best friend, who as I've become an atheist, has become more religious.

So, the main point in this post... This week I posted a blog about how I feel the Christian attitude towards gays is morally wrong, and how when I was a Christian I held immoral attitudes that I thankfully have shed. If anyone is interested, you can find it here. My best friend posted a somewhat harshly worded criticism of this blog, which surprised me because she has in the past told me I should be totally honest in my writings, and she is fully aware of how my youth director has made me feel recently.

I'm wondering do you worry about hurting people's feelings? If not, why? If so, why? How do you navigate the world with other believers? I'm primarily interested in hearing from those of you who have close friends who are believers. Do you talk about religion? Do they criticize your online presence? If you had a chance to read my post, do you think it was too harshly worded towards Christians and their religion? I'm not apologizing for anything I said, but I honestly don't see it. Most of my post was a criticism of myself more than anything. I stand by it 100%, but again, I really dislike hurting people I care about. Am I crazy?

"If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things." ~Rene Descartes.
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22-05-2013, 09:20 PM
RE: Wish I Had More Backbone in Debates
I'd like to read it but your link isn't working.

“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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22-05-2013, 10:14 PM
RE: Wish I Had More Backbone in Debates
(22-05-2013 09:20 PM)Full Circle Wrote:  I'd like to read it but your link isn't working.

Hmmm.... weird. It was working for me, but was a bit slow. Perhaps my host was having some issues.

Here is the main blog page, and the post I'm referencing is the main, most recent post: http://www.persephonespath.com/persephonekblog/

The direct post link is here: http://www.persephonespath.com/persephon...onversion/

Thanks for letting me know.

"If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things." ~Rene Descartes.
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22-05-2013, 10:24 PM (This post was last modified: 22-05-2013 10:45 PM by Full Circle.)
RE: Wish I Had More Backbone in Debates
Got it Thumbsup

Read it, liked it. Gets your point across in matter-of-fact way without personal attacks. It is well written, forthright and you back up your reasoning. In the end you can't control people's reactions, which, by the way, can change after self introspection.

Your leather tag reminded me of this poem by Langston Hughes.

Motto

I play it cool
I dig all jive
That's the reason
I stay alive
My motto
As I live and learn
Is dig and be dug in return

“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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22-05-2013, 10:54 PM
RE: Wish I Had More Backbone in Debates
(22-05-2013 08:36 PM)PersephoneK Wrote:  So... I announced I'm an atheist on Facebook earlier this year. I have actually been an atheist for several years and many of my close friends already knew, but some didn't including the person I most worried about telling, my former christian mentor and youth director. Long story short (because that's not really the point of this post), he's been somewhat FB stalking me, following me and commenting on posts, tagging me, calling me ignorant, that I make him sad, and how I failed him, etc. Most recently he sent me a private message where he told me I have been a FB bully, demeaning to Christians, and a Christian basher, among other things.

While I disagree with him (and have written a long response to him that I haven't yet sent), one thing that I struggle with is my desire not to hurt people (something he clearly is not concerned with), and my desire to fully explore my understanding of reality, my former christian self, and in general, just be an honest human being. I try to attack ideas, but not people, but as you probably know, people often take criticism of their ideas personally. It can be a fine line to walk. All of this I've discussed closely with my best friend, who as I've become an atheist, has become more religious.

So, the main point in this post... This week I posted a blog about how I feel the Christian attitude towards gays is morally wrong, and how when I was a Christian I held immoral attitudes that I thankfully have shed. If anyone is interested, you can find it here. My best friend posted a somewhat harshly worded criticism of this blog, which surprised me because she has in the past told me I should be totally honest in my writings, and she is fully aware of how my youth director has made me feel recently.

I'm wondering do you worry about hurting people's feelings? If not, why? If so, why? How do you navigate the world with other believers? I'm primarily interested in hearing from those of you who have close friends who are believers. Do you talk about religion? Do they criticize your online presence? If you had a chance to read my post, do you think it was too harshly worded towards Christians and their religion? I'm not apologizing for anything I said, but I honestly don't see it. Most of my post was a criticism of myself more than anything. I stand by it 100%, but again, I really dislike hurting people I care about. Am I crazy?

I don't know yet if you're crazy, we just met. Tongue

As for your blog, I didn't read it all but from what I read, I didn't see anything particularly offensive. There was plenty to be taken offensively by those who cling to lies but then, you can't spend your time worrying that your speaking the truth hurts someone's feelings.

It may help to look at it from this perspective... If your friend has blood running down her leg, you're going to point that out to her. Is she going to be offended? I would hope not. Likewise, if you point out that it's raining, does she get mad and blame you for causing the shower? Again... I hope not.

We could probably go through a hundred scenarios where you pointing out something true doesn't offend your friend. So why does pointing out that god isn't real offend her so? Well... because it's true and she knows it.

In simple terms, we don't get our feelings hurt when someone points out a truth we accept. It is only when the truth teller exposes a lie we are telling ourselves that we react in anger or defense.

I get that you don't want to offend people and I respect that position, because I hold it as well. However, truth telling is not offensive. Francis Bacon didn't come up with the scientific method because he wanted to offend the religious (or god). He came up with it because he wanted to find the truth.

It has helped me to put things in this perspective and perhaps it will help you. After all, you're not the one who's lying so if anyone deserves to be offended, it's you.

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names. - Chinese Proverb
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22-05-2013, 11:02 PM
RE: Wish I Had More Backbone in Debates
I don't like hurting people I care about -- so I make a point not to. And ya it pisses me off -- because I feel they should give me the deference I give them...

But I'm the selfish one trying to take god out of their lives. I don't really understsnd it.


God is a concept by which we measure our pain -- John Lennon

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22-05-2013, 11:36 PM
RE: Wish I Had More Backbone in Debates
I don't think you were mean/harsh at all.

You simply stated the facts that lead up to you leaving religion behind. Facts are facts, even if they are hard to accept.

Religion is a heated topic (mainly because people are incredibly passionate about what deity they believe in) and no matter how hard you try to not sound harsh in your criticism of it, someone is going to view it as a direct attack on them, and not on the religion itself. They can't separate themselves from their religion.
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23-05-2013, 09:11 AM
RE: Wish I Had More Backbone in Debates
I love how you understand 'attack ideas and not people'. For people in my life I disagree with, I state what I think bout the topic, and then I kill them with kindness. Big Grin

Your youth councillor should know better and be more responsible. It sounds as if he is getting emotional about his beliefs and using you as someone to get angry at instead of being concerned for your wellbeing. Even if you were to convert back, is this someone who is a good mentor, now? Maybe in the past, but the current reactions make me wonder.

You state yourself well and are respectful, right? However, you cannot control other's reactions. We all own our own reactions and choices on how to respond.
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23-05-2013, 10:52 AM
RE: Wish I Had More Backbone in Debates
(22-05-2013 08:36 PM)PersephoneK Wrote:  So... I announced I'm an atheist on Facebook earlier this year. I have actually been an atheist for several years and many of my close friends already knew, but some didn't including the person I most worried about telling, my former christian mentor and youth director. Long story short (because that's not really the point of this post), he's been somewhat FB stalking me, following me and commenting on posts, tagging me, calling me ignorant, that I make him sad, and how I failed him, etc. Most recently he sent me a private message where he told me I have been a FB bully, demeaning to Christians, and a Christian basher, among other things.

While I disagree with him (and have written a long response to him that I haven't yet sent), one thing that I struggle with is my desire not to hurt people (something he clearly is not concerned with), and my desire to fully explore my understanding of reality, my former christian self, and in general, just be an honest human being. I try to attack ideas, but not people, but as you probably know, people often take criticism of their ideas personally. It can be a fine line to walk. All of this I've discussed closely with my best friend, who as I've become an atheist, has become more religious.

So, the main point in this post... This week I posted a blog about how I feel the Christian attitude towards gays is morally wrong, and how when I was a Christian I held immoral attitudes that I thankfully have shed. If anyone is interested, you can find it here. My best friend posted a somewhat harshly worded criticism of this blog, which surprised me because she has in the past told me I should be totally honest in my writings, and she is fully aware of how my youth director has made me feel recently.

I'm wondering do you worry about hurting people's feelings? If not, why? If so, why? How do you navigate the world with other believers? I'm primarily interested in hearing from those of you who have close friends who are believers. Do you talk about religion? Do they criticize your online presence? If you had a chance to read my post, do you think it was too harshly worded towards Christians and their religion? I'm not apologizing for anything I said, but I honestly don't see it. Most of my post was a criticism of myself more than anything. I stand by it 100%, but again, I really dislike hurting people I care about. Am I crazy?
Your blog entry is nothing short of awesome and I applaud you for it! It's well written, politely stated, and hits all the most important points on the subject. The moral implications of homosexuality is a subject I have argued probably more than any other on countless forums. Like you, it was one of the first and most significant influences in stopping me in my tracks to rethink about my Christian faith originally. I have many gay friends and it bothered me tremendously that these are really good people and yet god supposedly condemns them for something harmless and especially when he created them that way... (because I have known for a long time that homosexuality starts with biology).

But, not to get too far off your point, I can see nothing in your blog entry that should offend anyone. Those who were offended felt that way because it makes so much sense and threatens their own erroneous beliefs. It's often far easier to "kill the messenger" than to accept the message.

Do I worry about hurting people's feelings? Only to a point. I try to state things in a sensitive manner and I try not to insult people, but I also don't avoid saying what needs to be said. After that, if they feel offended, I really couldn't help it because the discussion was necessary. And chances are the offense was from their reaction, not anything I actually did or said. However, I do also consider whether the discussion really is necessary. I, for example, try to avoid arguing with my 80+ year old mother about religion because she is approaching the end of her life. She may need her faith to get her through her final years and what would the point be of my taking that away from her? So I don't start any religious discussions with her and, when she starts them, I try to limit my responses to explaining myself rather than pointing out what I find wrong with her views.

I also wanted to comment about your Christian mentor. I found it interesting that he called you a FB bully when he tags you, calls you ignorant, says you make him sad, tells you that you failed him, etc. Talk about FB bullying...!

"Religion has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than any other single idea." --Madalyn Murray O'Hair
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23-05-2013, 11:20 AM
RE: Wish I Had More Backbone in Debates
I worked as an engineer for over 30 years. Needless to say most of my coworkers were well educated in math and the physical sciences, essentially all had college degrees some from well known universities. One I knew had graduated from UC Berkeley and also was a member of a very fundamentalist church.

I asked him one day about evolution and he got quite angry with me. Even when I offered him the out of "intelligent design" he clung to the creation myth of the bible. I had attacked his beliefs and as such became an enemy. I had had a reasonable but distant relationship with him before. I was fortunate that my subsequent dealings with him were limited as he remained angry with me from that day forward. Not much you can do sometimes when you are honest with people about your lack of beliefs.
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