Talking to Religious family members
Posted: 07 April 2012 09:49 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Quite some time ago my brother asked me about my thoughts on religion. He knows I’m a non believer, it’s not secret. He is a new minister, having recently finished his Masters of divinity. Back then he wasn’t a full time minister. He wanted to know what I think about religion, what I dislike, like etc. I told him I’d write something and get back to him. I wrote about half of what I’d outlined in one late night, and never got around to finishing it, partly due to being busy, forgetful, and yes, a little bit anxious. I’ve been avoiding my atheist confessional.

I’ve written more about this on my blog, that’s merely, the first paragraph. If you’re interested read on.

http://trevorsquest.blogspot.com/2012/04/ive-been-putting-something-off.html

I’m wondering if anyone here has any stories, advice about talking to your family in general. My father, brother and mother are religious. They all know I’m not, and it usually is fine. Still, given that my brother asked me what I think, how direct should I be about it? Any thoughts?

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Posted: 07 April 2012 11:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Well, just had an hour long telephone conversation with my brother. It was a really good conversation. I don’t know why I was worried. I didn’t get into everything, but he’s pretty open minded as far as religious people goes. I pretty much knew he wouldn’t fly off the handle, so why did I still feel the anxiousness and feeling to avoid it. I think it is something that we sort of learn culturally, or at least that I learned. I think it’s kind of an old habit that isn’t so strong anymore, but still kind of lingering. Still curious to hear other people’s experiences, especially since my dad is much harder to talk to about religion. We’ve pretty much came to a place where we just agree to try to avoid the topic.

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Posted: 07 April 2012 01:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I checked out your blog, Trevor, but apparently missed your first paragraph.  I have a few write-ups that may help.  I’ll try to find them and add them as either comments or as PMs.

Occam

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Posted: 07 April 2012 03:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Personally I have found that, after I have let people know, I don’t say any more. If the family member or friend wants to talk more about it then they kind of have to begin with why they do believe. That puts them in a tough position (since it’s a myth!). Better than having to explain why I don’t believe in something.

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Posted: 08 April 2012 07:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Good cartoon,

images.jpeg

Keep it up with your blog.
I’m glad you’re conversation went well.

Fortunately, on my side of the family no one has swallowed the Bible Pill.  But, then my ex and mother to my kids got ‘reborn’ and is into it fairly heavy.  Fortunately she’s not pushy about it, though in the past we’ve had some interesting discussions.  As for me, rather than get into grand verbal jousting, it inspired a few essays of my own:

http://citizenschallenge.blogspot.com/2008/08/there-they-go-again.html
http://citizenschallenge.blogspot.com/2008/08/what-is-sciences-sin.html
http://citizenschallenge.blogspot.com/2008/08/god-flowing-into-word.html

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Posted: 08 April 2012 11:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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traveler - 07 April 2012 03:51 PM

Personally I have found that, after I have let people know, I don’t say any more. If the family member or friend wants to talk more about it then they kind of have to begin with why they do believe. That puts them in a tough position (since it’s a myth!). Better than having to explain why I don’t believe in something.

Exactly! I am starting to talk to my dad more openly. But I never initiate the conversation—I only respond honestly and respectfully when he asks my thoughts on some spiritual matter. I find that he doesn’t ask so much lately. Same with my brother.

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Posted: 09 April 2012 09:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Occam. - 07 April 2012 01:44 PM

I checked out your blog, Trevor, but apparently missed your first paragraph.  I have a few write-ups that may help.  I’ll try to find them and add them as either comments or as PMs.

Occam

By the first paragraph, I just meant that I’d copied the first paragraph from my blog into the forum here but decided not to copy and post the entire blog post, so you’ve seen it if you read this post and the blog. I look forward to seeing your write ups.

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Posted: 09 April 2012 09:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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traveler - 07 April 2012 03:51 PM

Personally I have found that, after I have let people know, I don’t say any more. If the family member or friend wants to talk more about it then they kind of have to begin with why they do believe. That puts them in a tough position (since it’s a myth!). Better than having to explain why I don’t believe in something.

That’s a bit similar to my usual stance, though I haven’t always started with ‘Why do they believe’. I think that’s good advice.

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Posted: 10 April 2012 04:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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TrevorC - 09 April 2012 09:44 PM
traveler - 07 April 2012 03:51 PM

Personally I have found that, after I have let people know, I don’t say any more. If the family member or friend wants to talk more about it then they kind of have to begin with why they do believe. That puts them in a tough position (since it’s a myth!). Better than having to explain why I don’t believe in something.

That’s a bit similar to my usual stance, though I haven’t always started with ‘Why do they believe’. I think that’s good advice.

Right, but when they bring it up, it is sort of on them to get the conversation going. I don’t start with “Why do you believe?” In fact, silence often makes them think more. And the more they think, the better the chance of them bringing up a part of the myth/supernatural to which I can calmly reply, “See? That just doesn’t make sense to me.” Once they try to make “it” make sense then we have a reasoned conversation.

If the person is extremely emotional about their religion, then there’s not much point in talking.

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