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How To Answer Christians


R. S. Martin
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I guess they say Christmas brings out the best and the worst in families. Seems we've got quite a rash of family feud stories these days. My family keeps surprising me. Some of you know about my heart-break earlier this week because one of my sisters was so nasty (Another Guilt Trip from Family). It seems she talked with another set of our sisters and reported that I no longer believe in God. I think that's a black and white statement that does not capture the nuance of my beliefs but so be it.

 

Seems these other sisters then felt obligated to tell me about their own heart-break and disappointment of my deconversion. They wrote letters. When I saw it yesterday I just wanted to throw it into the bottom of my waste basket. Oh for an old-fashioned woodstove where things like letters are immediately and irretrievably destroyed!

 

I did their letters the justice of reading them once. I responded, using some ideas I picked up on this forum, and put it in the mail. Christians have all these tricks on how to evangelize unbelievers. We exCs should also have some standards tricks on how to deal with unwanted Christian business-minders. They talk as though I am intentionally and wantonly hurting them for for no other reason than to be vengeful and hard-hearted. That is so un-right!

 

I'll post my response to them in my next post.

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I can't bring myself to say "Dear" anybody; just their names in the salutation. One said how heart-broken and disappointed she is and puts a batch of questions to me as to how she is supposed to cope if there is no god. Why she thinks my unbelief takes god away from her is beyond me. She also reminded me of how hard she has been trying to understand and sympathize with my rather unusual beliefs. It's as though she thinks she thereby has earned the right to keep me from rejecting Christianity. As though personal conscience plays no role in this kind of thing!

 

The other said she would read The Pagan Christ, as though that would help her better understand me. I start by responding to that:

 

M_______ and S________,

 

You are approaching the "God question" totally backwards, altogether wrong. Don't start by reading the books that I read. Start by asking the questions I asked before I could read, questions I was not allowed to ask anybody, questions Mother refused to answer, questions no Christian will look at. It seems most Christians are so scared of losing their faith that they refuse to check out the evidence. If their faith is not strong enough to withstand questions then one might ask if their faith is built on anything more solid than wishful thinking. If it is nothing but wishful thinking, then why all the sacrifices, why all the renunciations, the self-debasement?

 

Face the facts! We live once and then we die. We have no second chance. If we waste this one life we have by wishing for a better one after we die, what if there is no afterlife? If God helps you more fully enjoy this one life that you know you will have, by all means believe in God. But if belief in God gets between you and enjoying life, then perhaps it is time to ask some hard questions.

 

To enjoy life does NOT mean living loose. In fact, loose living will NOT bring anyone joy. (What constitutes "loose living" is open to interpretation, and is in most cases culturally determined.) I am talking about a deep inner peace and joy and liberty that Christians call the joy of the Lord, the peace of God, freedom in Christ, etc. Other religions have other terms and other ways of saying the same thing. Humanism has its own vocabulary. This is part and parcel of being human. Call it God if that is what you understand best.

 

We live in a land of religious freedom. This means that you have no right to impose your beliefs on me just as I don't impose my beliefs on you. Discussing beliefs is one thing; imposing beliefs is another. Discussing means to talk about what we believe and why; imposing means telling another person what they should believe, holding them accountable for not measuring up to what we think they should believe, etc. I will discuss the various beliefs but I will not take it any further. Others were discussing various beliefs in the circle letter, so I joined the discussion. It is, after all, my favourite topic.

 

I am now being told I have no right to do this. I will have nothing to do with people who use a double standard like this. If you are allowed to talk about your beliefs, then so am I. If I am not allowed to do it, then neither are you. What are the rules? I don't even remember what I talked about. I do remember that I had to use as few words as possible so I could get it all on one sheet. I also remember that I dedicated more than one side to a song and its story I found on the internet because I believed people would like it. Nobody mentions that; all they mention is one or two sentences they disagree with. That is stupid!

 

Please stop burdening me with your disappointments in me. It's your problem. Deal with it. And remember, I may be just as disappointed in you as you are in me. I was overjoyed to see that people want to discuss something interesting for a change. Then my sisters turn and accuse me of being a bad person.

 

As I tell E_______ in a letter I mailed earlier this week, I don't ever want to see the circle letter again. But I do want my last letter back.

 

Ruby

*******************

They don't have computers or internet access because of religious conviction. The song I shared was It Is Well with my Soul, and the story of the composer's tragedy that inspired him to write the song. They used to enjoy that kind of thing. They should know me well enough by now to know that I tell the truth. If they don't want to know something they shouldn't ask! I was going to tell them that but forgot. Oh well, accusing each other of wrongs does not right any wrong.........

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IMHO, Christians need "tricks" because they don't have anything real to say. You don't need tricks to just tell it like it is.

 

You know what you would have said as a Christian and you know the answers to those things or else you would still be a Christian.

 

I think the difficulty is in the emotional attachment you had/have with Christians you were close to. The feelings that arise in the encounter make it more difficult to think, which you need to do because you are not yet practiced in your responses. I wouldn't throw your sister's letters away. I'd set them aside for a cooling off and thinking period and then answer them for practice if for nothing else.

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No tricks needed. Just tell them to mind their own business and that the topic is no longer open for discussion.

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No tricks needed. Just tell them to mind their own business and that the topic is no longer open for discussion.

 

Thanks, Dave, I think that is what I am doing in a rather long-winded manner. They have probably never been exposed to the multi-religious setting so it seemed fitting to explain in some detail how the "rules of the game" work.

 

When I said it's okay to discuss religion but not impose it, it hit me that they will say I am imposing, too. In fact, I have already been accused of that very thing. That is why I felt a need to explain the difference. I am exposing them to my beliefs, but there's a major difference between exposing and imposing. Exposure can be done via discussion, but imposing is telling others what to believe.

 

And they sure are doing their utmost to tell me that I have no right to choose my beliefs as I see fit. They don't even leave room for discussion. I am taking the space to do so.

 

I know it leaves them in an extremely difficult situation. Their religion makes them responsible for my salvation. Cain was held responsible for his brother's death--obviously. Ezekiel warns that the watchmen on the walls of Zion are responsible to warn the inhabitants of an approaching foe. If they don't issue warning and the people are killed, the watchman is responsible before God. If the watchman issues warning and the people don't heed the warning, the people may get killed but the watchman is innocent before God.

 

That part of Ezekiel is always being used in sermons to urge people to warn the backsliders among them. Obviously, my sisters see me as a backslider. And I am. Actually, no, I am not "sliding" anywhere. I am deliberately choosing to no longer live a lie but to follow my conscience. That, of course, leads away from Christianity.

 

All this started because I allowed a stupid optometrist back in Aug. to make me tell him what I believe as part of an eye examination. Bapist. Whether Southern or Northern or whatever--I haven't a clue. That was a fairly emotionally draining experience in and of itself. He ended up discharging me. No reason given. I assume it's because I did not appreciate what he did to me and I told him that he had been out of line. So *I* get punished for *his* offense. I thought Jesus bore his sins so that I shouldn't have to do it. But oh well, the unbeliever has no rights.

 

In keeping with sisterly tradition, I shared this experience with yet another of my sisters. Had I had the wisdom not to tell her, things would be very different in my family today. The thing is, I did not realize that I was telling her something she did not know until I was halfway through the story. Even so, I had no idea that she would take it the way she did until several days later when I tried to make up. So I get to pay for everyone's sins whether I like it or not. Jesus at least, so they claim, agreed to the responsibility. It seems since Jesus already paid the price they should just quit making me pay, too.

 

But they assume, falsely, that leaving the faith is such an easy and desirable thing to do. They further assume that I am a heartless and evil creature out to convert them to my unbelief. That is the only reasoning by which their reactions make sense. All my life I've been admonished to give people the benefit of the doubt. But doing so is costing me just a bit more than I think I deserve to be charged.

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Please stop burdening me with your disappointments in me. It's your problem. Deal with it. And remember, I may be just as disappointed in you as you are in me. I was overjoyed to see that people want to discuss something interesting for a change. Then my sisters turn and accuse me of being a bad person.

 

 

RubySera,

 

That one, very succinct, paragraph says so much! Good for you!

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No tricks needed. Just tell them to mind their own business and that the topic is no longer open for discussion.
Thanks, Dave, I think that is what I am doing in a rather long-winded manner. They have probably never been exposed to the multi-religious setting so it seemed fitting to explain in some detail how the "rules of the game" work.
That won't work since their rules are different than yours.
When I said it's okay to discuss religion but not impose it, it hit me that they will say I am imposing, too. In fact, I have already been accused of that very thing. That is why I felt a need to explain the difference. I am exposing them to my beliefs, but there's a major difference between exposing and imposing. Exposure can be done via discussion, but imposing is telling others what to believe.
That's why it will do no good to discuss it. They will always twist it back on you. No matter what you say, unless it is in 100% agreement with them, you will be wrong. It's not worth the trouble. Just tell them that you will discuss ANYTHING but religion with them.
And they sure are doing their utmost to tell me that I have no right to choose my beliefs as I see fit. They don't even leave room for discussion. I am taking the space to do so.
Just tell them it is your business and not up to them to decide for you. Then end the discussion.
I know it leaves them in an extremely difficult situation.
So what! That's their problem, not yours. They can believe whatever they want. You are not going to change that so don't even try. It's not worth it.
But they assume, falsely, that leaving the faith is such an easy and desirable thing to do. They further assume that I am a heartless and evil creature out to convert them to my unbelief. That is the only reasoning by which their reactions make sense. All my life I've been admonished to give people the benefit of the doubt. But doing so is costing me just a bit more than I think I deserve to be charged.
They will assume whatever makes them comfortable and supports their god beliefs. Don't even try to argue with them or even discuss the matter any further. Drop the subject like a hot rock. Let them stew on it for a year or more before you let them talk about it with you. If they bring it up in the mean time, just say; "I am no longer a believer and the topic is closed. How's the weather in your area?"
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Personally, I don't think people who try to impose their beliefs on me warrant a response. Arguing with them never does anything to help anyway. I would just say something like, "My religious beliefs are not up for discussion or debate," and then try to change the subject. If they keep making the subject religion, then I would say, "I really do not care to discuss this subject," and be assertive until they get the point.

 

I had to share a cubicle with a fundy at my old job for 8 months. That was the only way I could deal with him, because he kept trying to bring up religion into every single conversation, even if it was just about the weather.

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That's why it will do no good to discuss it. They will always twist it back on you. No matter what you say, unless it is in 100% agreement with them, you will be wrong. It's not worth the trouble. Just tell them that you will discuss ANYTHING but religion with them.

 

Agreed. It doesn't do any good discussing religion with a very religious person unless you know for sure that they are tolerant. If they are not, avoiding the subject is usually the best way to go, unless you really are looking for a debate and you want an argument that will most likely be futile in the end.

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Agreed. It doesn't do any good discussing religion with a very religious person unless you know for sure that they are tolerant. If they are not, avoiding the subject is usually the best way to go, unless you really are looking for a debate and you want an argument that will most likely be futile in the end.
By not engaging them in a debate you are also avoiding heated arguments that would only exacerbate the situation.
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Agreed. It doesn't do any good discussing religion with a very religious person unless you know for sure that they are tolerant. If they are not, avoiding the subject is usually the best way to go, unless you really are looking for a debate and you want an argument that will most likely be futile in the end.
By not engaging them in a debate you are also avoiding heated arguments that would only exacerbate the situation.

 

That, too. And I know from experience that such arguments go nowhere, anyway.

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Ruby, I think your letter back was very eloquent and said what needed to be said clearly. Likely they won't be able to compute it anyway, but it won't be because of lack of clarity on your part.

 

Chef has a good point about Christian's needing tricks and you just telling them like it is. Keep doing that. If they try to argue, deflect them and get back on topic that you're not eating babys or sleeping with everything that moves. Dave and Amethyst also pointed out to keep the conversation as simple and clear and repetitive as possible. Even if you do more than just say it's not open to discussion, keep the discussion simple and try not to argue because it won't get anywhere.

 

I think you'll do fine against your sisters. It might feel like your doing something wrong because they can't see your side, but it's honestly not you.

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Personally, I don't think people who try to impose their beliefs on me warrant a response. Arguing with them never does anything to help anyway. I would just say something like, "My religious beliefs are not up for discussion or debate," and then try to change the subject. If they keep making the subject religion, then I would say, "I really do not care to discuss this subject," and be assertive until they get the point.

 

I had to share a cubicle with a fundy at my old job for 8 months. That was the only way I could deal with him, because he kept trying to bring up religion into every single conversation, even if it was just about the weather.

 

I find a good response is, "I've tried religion, but I couldn't keep deluding myself into believing in false gods."

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I find a good response is, "I've tried religion, but I couldn't keep deluding myself into believing in false gods."

 

Perhaps, but that just begs the question from the fundy, "How do you know they are false gods?" which would lead to an unwanted argument. I'd rather just not discuss it with them at all.

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Guest packmania

I think your letter was very well written. Even if your family aren't able to take it in I still think it is a good idea to reply to their letters, even if you don't send them, just for you own validation and to avoid the feeling that you are dodging the issue because of fear.

 

I also applaude you for being able to free your mind from what sounds like a formiddable prison. I know that it can feel very lonely going through that process, it is mentally hard to get out of an abusive relationship and that is exactly what it is.

 

Remember, you are not alone!

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Perhaps, but that just begs the question from the fundy, "How do you know they are false gods?"

 

"Because they are created by man."

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Perhaps, but that just begs the question from the fundy, "How do you know they are false gods?"

 

"Because they are created by man."

 

Yes, but my point is that will lead to a debate, which I'd personally rather not have because I know from experience that it'll just be pointless. So I would rather refuse to discuss religion than come up with quips that I know will lead to stupid arguments with fundies. If it works for you, fine.

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Yes, but my point is that will lead to a debate, which I'd personally rather not have because I know from experience that it'll just be pointless. So I would rather refuse to discuss religion than come up with quips that I know will lead to stupid arguments with fundies. If it works for you, fine.

 

My experience has been, if you just try to "Avoid" or "Deflect" a conflict or argument, they think they are right and will come up with excuses to try to "Save" my "Soul" at every opportunity. By being blunt and straightforward, it's possible that it may engage them in debate, but more often than not, I find that the vast majority of Christians are incapable of supporting their end of the argument, making for a very short debate. I go straight for the guts and by the time I'm done, it's them who wish to never discuss religion with me ever again, and the problem is solved for good. If anything, I know I've at least planted the seeds of doubt.

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Please stop burdening me with your disappointments in me. It's your problem. Deal with it. And remember, I may be just as disappointed in you as you are in me. I was overjoyed to see that people want to discuss something interesting for a change. Then my sisters turn and accuse me of being a bad person.

 

RubySera,

 

That one, very succinct, paragraph says so much! Good for you!

 

LoF, THANK YOU! When I just saw the first part of the sentence I thought you are going to say it's rather harsh. I'm glad you approve. I mean business and the game is going to be played by MY rules this time. If they don't like it, and they won't, they can go talk and cry and complain to each other but I won't be part of it.

 

Dave said:

post_snapback.gifNo tricks needed. Just tell them to mind their own business and that the topic is no longer open for discussion.

RubySera said:

 

Thanks, Dave, I think that is what I am doing in a rather long-winded manner. They have probably never been exposed to the multi-religious setting so it seemed fitting to explain in some detail how the "rules of the game" work.

 

That won't work since their rules are different than yours.

 

 

I am psyching myself up for that. I expect to get a weepy call from the one who tells me how disappointed she is in me. If she does that, I plan to tell her, "Look, I said for you not to burden me with your disappointments in me. You are not respecting that. I wrote a letter to you and to the other sister. Those letters say all I have to say. You've lost me. I've been trying all these many, many years to figure out how to get along with the family, to find a way to make things work. We're still where we were forty years ago. The game is over. You can cry and complain and talk to each other but leave me out of it. I'm going to hang up now. Good-bye."

 

Things never work out the way I expect so this probably won't either. But I plan to play the game by my rules. If they don't like it, fine. They've lost me. Period. Only if I get a sincere apology for all the hassle they've given me all my life will I back down. This goes far, far deeper than just me coming clean about my unbelief this fall. It is part and parcel of family dynamics. I won't get that apology because they won't see what they did.

 

 

Dave said:

 

RubySera said:

 

When I said it's okay to discuss religion but not impose it, it hit me that they will say I am imposing, too. In fact, I have already been accused of that very thing. That is why I felt a need to explain the difference. I am exposing them to my beliefs, but there's a major difference between exposing and imposing. Exposure can be done via discussion, but imposing is telling others what to believe.

That's why it will do no good to discuss it.

 

Yeah, I know it won't do any good for the relationship with them, but I have to say it to feel that I am playing fair. Having told them where I stand will let me off the hook with myself. If, by any chance, they do understand the difference (and the one of them is fairly intelligent so she may, at least with the use of a dictionary), then they will also know that I am playing fair.

 

Dave Said:

 

They will always twist it back on you. No matter what you say, unless it is in 100% agreement with them, you will be wrong. It's not worth the trouble. Just tell them that you will discuss ANYTHING but religion with them.

Ruby said:

And they sure are doing their utmost to tell me that I have no right to choose my beliefs as I see fit. They don't even leave room for discussion. I am taking the space to do so.Just tell them it is your business and not up to them to decide for you. Then end the discussion.

 

Ruby said:

I know it leaves them in an extremely difficult situation.

Dave said:

So what! That's their problem, not yours. They can believe whatever they want. You are not going to change that so don't even try. It's not worth it.

Ruby said: But they assume, falsely, that leaving the faith is such an easy and desirable thing to do. They further assume that I am a heartless and evil creature out to convert them to my unbelief. That is the only reasoning by which their reactions make sense. All my life I've been admonished to give people the benefit of the doubt. But doing so is costing me just a bit more than I think I deserve to be charged.
They will assume whatever makes them comfortable and supports their god beliefs. Don't even try to argue with them or even discuss the matter any further. Drop the subject like a hot rock. Let them stew on it for a year or more before you let them talk about it with you. If they bring it up in the mean time, just say; "I am no longer a believer and the topic is closed. How's the weather in your area?"

 

Dave, thanks for these tips, for giving me permission to say these things, to treat them like this even if I know they won't like it. My mother's indoctrinations go deep ever since I was a little child that I have no rights and that if I hurt the others I am condemned. So thanks! An outsider's perspective helps me see what rights I have in the situation. That is the big reason I am sharing all this stuff with people here--I need the outside perspective to figure out what my rights are. We are talking about recovering from serious abuse that had nothing to do with religion.

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Dave, thanks for these tips, for giving me permission to say these things, to treat them like this even if I know they won't like it. My mother's indoctrinations go deep ever since I was a little child that I have no rights and that if I hurt the others I am condemned. So thanks! An outsider's perspective helps me see what rights I have in the situation. That is the big reason I am sharing all this stuff with people here--I need the outside perspective to figure out what my rights are. We are talking about recovering from serious abuse that had nothing to do with religion.
Arguing will just fracture the family even more. They sound like a toxic group anyway. Just stand your ground and refuse to get into arguments. Just keep saying that you are the same person you always were and nothing else has changed.
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I've read the rest of the thread now. Thanks everybody for your input. Dave and Amethyst, maybe you were dealing with different types of personalities or something.

 

Kurari said:

Ruby, I think your letter back was very eloquent and said what needed to be said clearly. Likely they won't be able to compute it anyway, but it won't be because of lack of clarity on your part.

 

Thank you! I don't think they will understand all of it. I was not particularly picky when it came to vocabulary so some of it may well be over their heads. I figure they've got dictionaries. Many a family feud was settled with the dictionary when we were still living at home, so I know they value dictionaries. And it doesn't matter anyway because my religious beliefs are not open to discussion. They were open for a very long time and they (sisters) never filled in the gaps with anything substantial so I found my own answers. They don't like it but that's not my problem.

 

Chef has a good point about Christian's needing tricks and you just telling them like it is.
Okay, I'm finally seeing what Chef tried to tell me. Sorry, Chef, I was a bit slow in getting it, but thanks for your input.

 

Keep doing that. If they try to argue, deflect them and get back on topic that you're not eating babys or sleeping with everything that moves.

 

I laughed aloud when I saw this! but I get your point. Atheists don't do these things. It's what Christians were accused of doing a couple thousand years ago and Christians do in fact practice a form of symbolic canibalism. Thus their accusers were marginally correct. Atheists (modern-day atheists; the Christians used to be the atheists back in the ancient days) just don't do that. As for sleeping around (with creatures that move and are sexually compatible with themselves)--Christians are well-known for doing that. Anyone who watches Dave the Webmaster's main blog on this site gets a sense on how many sexual molestation charges are being brought against pastors all the time. I assume those pastors are Christian. Social workers emphasize the many cases that go unreported. I'm sure Dave doesn't catch all the cases that are reported. Thus, we know the numbers are staggering.

 

As for sticking to the topic...that is what I did Monday with my little sister. She kept changing the topic and I kept bringing her back. She refused to answer my questions so I would bring her back. Eventually she hung up on me. Apparently, she then reported to these older sisters (whose letters I got on Friday) that I don't believe in God anymore. (As though I ever had! I did, off and on, but it was pretty iffy; I wish they would make these connections and then they would not be so surprised but that's asking a bit much of nonthinking people. If I did not look so much like all of them I might think I am adopted or something but that is hardly the case.)

 

You know what--one of the topics this little sister was adamant on discussing was fornication. I asked her what counts as fornication. She was sort of out of her depths; didn't have the vocabulary, and was too puritanist, to discuss it. I took center stage and described various degrees of commitment both legal and sexual. All the way from prostitution to married people who sleep together but never have sex. Maybe her real question was how many men I slept with this last month. If it was, she should have said so. As it was, I thought she was just discussing a topic in the abstract. I have nothing to hide. As you said, I don't sleep with anything that moves.

 

Whoa! I am reading your post again. I see you said "everything" and I read "anything." Okay, well I certainly don't share my bed with the squirrels and rabbits and blue jays in my backyard, nor with males of my own species, so no offense taken. I am female.

 

Dave and Amethyst also pointed out to keep the conversation as simple and clear and repetitive as possible. Even if you do more than just say it's not open to discussion, keep the discussion simple and try not to argue because it won't get anywhere.
Yeah, that's exactly what happened with this little sister. It happened years ago with another little sister, too. She reported to the family that I just talked in circles. Go figure! I forget what the topic was--probably some family dynamics issue but at that point she had more formal education than I did. She was teaching school for heavens sake, and I wasn't because everybody (except me) knew I wasn't smart enough, so of course she was right! Sticking to the topic is, I believe, a foreign concept to them and definitely not a skill they possess.

 

I think you'll do fine against your sisters. It might feel like your doing something wrong because they can't see your side, but it's honestly not you.

 

THANK YOU. Maybe you know how much that means to me. On another thread you told me how your brother keeps taking your name of the family circle letter and that he thinks he's SO much better (smarter?) than you. I was too exhausted at the time to respond to it but I remember it and I know you speak from experience. That means a lot.

 

packmania said:

I think your letter was very well written. Even if your family aren't able to take it in I still think it is a good idea to reply to their letters, even if you don't send them, just for you own validation and to avoid the feeling that you are dodging the issue because of fear.

 

I also applaude you for being able to free your mind from what sounds like a formiddable prison. I know that it can feel very lonely going through that process, it is mentally hard to get out of an abusive relationship and that is exactly what it is.

 

Remember, you are not alone!

 

Packmania, thanks so much for your affirmation and welcome to the forums! It's so good to know I'm not alone. I was alone for so much of my life. And yes, the term prison feels very fitting. Thanks!

 

DigitalQuirk said:

My experience has been, if you just try to "Avoid" or "Deflect" a conflict or argument, they think they are right and will come up with excuses to try to "Save" my "Soul" at every opportunity. By being blunt and straightforward, it's possible that it may engage them in debate, but more often than not, I find that the vast majority of Christians are incapable of supporting their end of the argument, making for a very short debate. I go straight for the guts and by the time I'm done, it's them who wish to never discuss religion with me ever again, and the problem is solved for good. If anything, I know I've at least planted the seeds of doubt.

 

I really like this idea. I think it works if you're smart enough and can think on your feet. I think that is one reason I felt compelled to respond to their letters. Like several people implied, they may not get what I'm saying but they will know that further attempts at "rescuing" me will be futile. There will likely be a lot of tears and heartache but there are lots of them to support each other through the emotional trauma. There was only one of me all these decades. Even if they suffer the occasional stab of intense pain they won't suffer anywhere near what I did. A thought that keeps going through my mind these days is: You reap what you sow.

 

They are farmers and gardeners and are intimately familiar with this on a very literal level. They sowed discord among brethern/siblings and they are now reaping the bitter harvest. Some of this goes esp. for my parents and some of it goes for my siblings. They, too, never truly accepted me. Now they are reaping the bitter harvest. They've lost me. All of them have been adults for a long time and they could have befriended me and answered my questions--providing there were answers. I am very clear that I had very many questions that no one listened to or answered.

 

This particular set of sisters cannot even make the claim that they didn't know about these questions. I shared most of my questions with the one of them. Not that she is likely to remember but that is not my problem. My questions were serious and sincere. If she did not clue in to that then it's not my fault. I won't lie anymore and that is all there is to it.

 

Just keep saying that you are the same person you always were and nothing else has changed.

 

Sounds like good advise. What I left the church, this is what they really wanted to know. At that time I was living close enough for them to find out on the personal level that I haven't changed. This time I'm not, and there is good reason for it. Like you say, they're toxic.

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RubySera

 

You are a remarkable and couragous woman; and I applaud your fortitude.

 

From everything you have described in this post, it appears that a peaceful resolution to this imbroglio is unlikely. That said, I firmly believe you have a right to your peace of mind and not to be manipulated by guilt. You have the right to hold what ever belief or non-belief you chose, (the etymology of the word 'heresy' comes from 'to chose).

 

I agree with the poster (Amythyst? excuse me if I got it wrong.) Who advised the reply of: "My religious beliefs are not open to discussion or debate." Then moving on to another topic.

 

I hope that your family can come to an accord, as life is too short to be lived by manipulation, regardless of whether you practice it, or are the victim of it.

 

P.S. Check my sig for additional input.

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I've read the rest of the thread now. Thanks everybody for your input. Dave and Amethyst, maybe you were dealing with different types of personalities or something.
I've had 50 years of dealing with different personalities and telling them I'm an Atheist.
Sounds like good advise. What I left the church, this is what they really wanted to know. At that time I was living close enough for them to find out on the personal level that I haven't changed. This time I'm not, and there is good reason for it. Like you say, they're toxic.
Sometimes the best thing to do is walk away from a toxic family. The ones to keep are the ones that accept you as you are, not as they want you to be.

 

Remember, it is not you they are afraid of, it is your non belief that threatens their beliefs. If they were secure in their beliefs what you believe wouldn't matter.

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I've read the rest of the thread now. Thanks everybody for your input. Dave and Amethyst, maybe you were dealing with different types of personalities or something.
I've had 50 years of dealing with different personalities and telling them I'm an Atheist.

 

The guy I had to share a cubicle with for 8 months was a born again evangelical fundy. He brought up Christianity in every single conversation, even if it was just about the weather. I had asked him politely to please talk about something else. He kept promising he would and "forgot" anyway. I doubt he actually forgot. We had a couple of lengthy debates that went nowhere. I got a separate cube eventually, but the only way to deal with him while we shared one was to refuse to talk about religion at all and to be very assertive.

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I agree with the poster (Amythyst? excuse me if I got it wrong.) Who advised the reply of: "My religious beliefs are not open to discussion or debate." Then moving on to another topic.

 

Actually, it's Amethyst, like the gem. But thanks. :)

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