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Dealing With Old Christian Friends


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Wondering if anyone else here has been in a similar situation. I have a friend I haven't seen in over 15 years (kept in touch with Xmas cards) who is still on staff with the christian ministry I used to work for. We haven't really talked in a long time and she has no idea that I am now a non-believer.

 

She is trying to get me to attend an event (non-religious sporting event) this summer that will be in my hometown. She's all gung-ho about seeing me. She's fun and I wouldn't mind being involved in this event. However, it is almost unthinkable to me that I would go into my non-belief at all since that pretty much says that I don't believe in her life's work. She's now a 60 year old single woman who has been on staff with this organization for over 30 years. Do I avoid the subject completely or risk really offending her (or maybe just distressing her)? If she was obnoxious and pushy I'd have no issue. But she is a really nice person who has been in christian work (mostly administrative) because she truly believes she is helping people.

 

Anyone have any words of wisdom for me???

 

Thanks,

 

Amy

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Hey there Amy and welcome to the forums.

 

I am surrounded by Christians where I live. I am sometimes surprised how infrequently the subject of religion actually comes up. I don't pretend to be a Christian, but I also don't make a big deal of my apostacy. So I've left the faith. Big deal.

 

My advice is that if you want to go then go. And try not to sweat the whole subject of your faith. Perhaps you can even write down a number of responses to some likely questions.

 

Her: "How's your spiritual walk?"

You: "I'd rather not discuss it right now." or "I think that's none of your business." or even "I've outgrown my childhood faith."

 

My only point is it might serve you well to know in adance how you will respond to her possible probing of your spiritual life. That way you won't be taken off gaurd ,and the moment, if it comes, might be less akward.

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Those are good points. I haven't told too many of the people I used to work with in ministry or old friends about my change of heart and beliefs myself. I've hung out with a few but to be honest it hasn't come up yet. It's always interesting how people really assume no one goes through changes in life. The times I have had it come up I'm very small about it, don't like to make a big deal about it. Legion Regalis does have some kick ass ideas though that I will probably use one day myself.

 

 

 

Hey there Amy and welcome to the forums.

 

I am surrounded by Christians where I live. I am sometimes surprised how infrequently the subject of religion actually comes up. I don't pretend to be a Christian, but I also don't make a big deal of my apostacy. So I've left the faith. Big deal.

 

My advice is that if you want to go then go. And try not to sweat the whole subject of your faith. Perhaps you can even write down a number of responses to some likely questions.

 

Her: "How's your spiritual walk?"

You: "I'd rather not discuss it right now." or "I think that's none of your business." or even "I've outgrown my childhood faith."

 

My only point is it might serve you well to know in adance how you will respond to her possible probing of your spiritual life. That way you won't be taken off gaurd ,and the moment, if it comes, might be less akward.

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My standard approach is not to make religion an issue, to just play along, acknowledge having heard if the other person does raise religious topics, not lie but perhaps not exposing the whole truth, either. That is basically how I handled the situation that day when my fundy aunt and uncle invited me over for supper and to church. I accepted the invitation because I barely knew them and I wanted to get to know them better. I went into the situation knowing they are fanatical about their religion.

 

For less fanatical people and less overt religious situations, religion might not come up, but then again, it might. If they say something in the context of their own personal beliefs, I feel comfortable acknowledging having heard--maybe say "uh-hu," or whatever lets the person know you heard. An example might be, "God has sure given us a beautiful evening for this event. He must be smiling up in heaven to see his children enjoying themselves like this." Out of respect for them and their beliefs, I would just acknowledge having heard. I might say something like, "It sure is a lovely evening. It is so pleasant out here."

 

That is not committing or agreeing to anything religious; it's just agreeing about the weather. It's just saying, "I hear that you are talking and I enjoy your company so talk whatever you like. I'm your friend and that is what friends are for." Obviously, I wouldn't say that out loud.

 

If religion does not come up I wouldn't bring it up. I don't get the sense that you think she might corner you about your beliefs. That would be more tricky. With my aunt and uncle, I really very much wanted a pleasant time. So I responded to their questions and comments in such a way that did not give away my personal beliefs.

 

I did it in the context of theological discussion. If they want to talk about the rapture, as my aunt and uncle did, I would consider it appropriate to ask their specific ideas about how it will happen. That would allow them to share their beliefs without committing oneself to the religion.

 

Those are the best suggestions I can think up at the moment. I hope you have a pleasant time and that you can feel at ease in each other's company.

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Thanks for the responses. Good thoughts. I have spent some time on some other forums and sometimes get the sense that I have some kind of duty to shout my beliefs (or lack therof) from the rooftops in order to stem the tide of evangelical christianity. I feel, in a way, that I should not be at all apologetic about what I believe but I don't want to attack someone who is clearly not being obnoxious.

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I am not a huge fan of hanging out with old Christian friends of mine. But I do it on occasion and it's not too bad. And, in my experience, not too many ask how I am doing spiritually. Granted, two of my better friends from that group know -- and word may have gotten around about it without me knowing. Also, a bunch of them did go to a movie one night and I got good and hammered before they picked me up -- because I couldn't imagine dealing with the "Christ talk" the whole way sober. ^_^

 

So some of them probably have a clue. I did have my friend (who does know) comment that another person (who doesn't) didn't like hanging out with me because I am too "opinionated." :scratch: I can't recall what I may have said to give that impression. I have a feeling it was probably my not bowing my head to bless the food or possibly me snickering when someone was praying. Because I don't remember having any real conversation with the person involved.

 

My advice, just relax and have a good time. It's very likely the subject won't come up. If it does, you can evade it or just be honest. Life's too short to worry about offending other people all the time.

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Thanks for the responses. Good thoughts. I have spent some time on some other forums and sometimes get the sense that I have some kind of duty to shout my beliefs (or lack therof) from the rooftops in order to stem the tide of evangelical christianity. I feel, in a way, that I should not be at all apologetic about what I believe but I don't want to attack someone who is clearly not being obnoxious.

I remind myself that it's not honorable to treat someone as though they've been behaving as an enemy when they haven't. If they're enemies, then why would I be breaking bread with them? If they're not enemies, then why would I treat them as though they were?

 

Christianity is the enemy of humanity. Christians, however, are usually just another set of the victims of Christianity.

 

Fellow victims.

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