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New Roommate


babysealclubber
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I've been living with a couple other guys for the past year. Both of them are Christians, graduating or attending the same small Christian university. Thankfully, they've been pretty tolerant (sometimes even borderline supportive :P) of my lack of spirituality. We have the usual personality conflicts and housemate issues, but religion hasn't been one of them.

 

Recently we added to the household. Yet another Christian university graduate. Except this time things are a little different. He was born and raised in an African village by his missionary parents for most of his life, is employed by a religious organization, and his extended family are long time friends of my family. We were getting along well enough, but religion kept coming up, which regularly led to a smear of atheism or non-belief. So after a few weeks of this I just told him my thoughts the subject.

 

It was a revealing conversation, but ultimately just an exhausting hour-long argument that went nowhere. I went kind-of easy on him, holding back when things got a little one-sided and admitting to things that were probably received as weaknesses in my position. This was mostly to avoid a strong confrontation, but also to avoid hurting the guy. He had obviously struggled with many of the things that had led to my de-conversion, and I knew how sensitive those subjects could be to someone who isn't receptive. Especially (I imagine) when your parents have whole-heartedly devoted their lives to The Cause. I really do have respect for his parents, btw.

 

His father is a linguist, who has been developing a written language from scratch for the local tongue over the past couple decades. It really is fascinating, and even if the only book they have to read is the bible, and even if a very select number of people can actually read it, I can't help but admire his tenacity and perseverance.

 

And his son is a very likable guy as well, who I think *tries* to be intellectually honest and open-minded. And I automatically think a bit more highly of a person who ponders religion, whatever his final conclusions are. But now I don't know. I'm getting the idea he sees me as someone who he can 'win back' for Christ, occasionally dropping not-so-subtle hints. Examples like bringing up Christian-themed books, listening to/pointing out christian artists, watching video reports from foreign missionaries, etc. And it's usually accompanied by this expectant stare, like he's waiting for me to say something. Maybe he wants me to persecute him, or maybe I'm supposed to start praying for forgiveness or something. In any event, it's never outright evangelism, just the exact kind of passive-aggressive garbage I would have pulled in his position. But at least now he is more cautious with his comments about non-theists. It would be nice to think that his actual perspective changed, but that may be asking too much. :Hmm:

 

And something else-- an exchange from our argument that keeps playing in the ol' noodle. In an attempt to fill space after a particularly awkward pause, I had said that I hoped he wouldn't think less of me now that he knows what he knows. He replied that he didn't think less of me, but he just thinks it's all so 'sad.' Now, many people here have said that they were happier without Christianity, which is certainly encouraging, but unfortunately that wasn't really the case for me. His statement rang a little too true.

 

So I don't know. I don't really have a point or a question, just trying to gather up and vent out some thoughts.

 

Thanks,

 

:thanks:

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I'm still tired and don't have much to reply, but in regards to the "sad" comment, here is a quote from Dr. House on atheism: "It's not about fun. It's about the truth." If he ever tells you that you being an atheist is "sad", I would tell him that you'd be much happier knowing the truth and living accordingly than knowing what you know and continuing to live a lie just to be accepted by your peers or to get into an imaginary paradise after death.

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Good Morning, Babysealclubber! I hope your response to his comment that he finds it all so ‘sad’ was to sorrowfully shake your head and say, “Yes, it is a total tragedy that so many are sooooo fucking deluded.”

 

I would be tempted to ask him what he finds so ‘sad’ about it. Is he referring to something he thinks you have lost in this life or in the afterlife? Why does this conversation bother you? If you truly do not believe then you know that you’ve lost nothing after you die. Have you lost anything in the here and now? You indicate that you have not been any happier without Christianity. Were you happy before? Help me understand what this comment means to you. I’m puzzled.

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Well, I didn't say much of anything, really. I really was exhausted from all the arguing at that point, and just wanted to stop talking for a while.

 

I'm not sad about losing an afterlife even though that's what my roommate was probably talking about. It's a relief to be rid of it, in all honesty. But I definitely felt a net loss after losing religion. I don't expect everyone to understand, after all, there are very *real* reasons to be happy about ditching christianity. I gained clarity, tolerance, mental freedom and curiosity; lost hypocrisy, many old fears, and many ridiculous rules/expectations both internal and external.

 

But it's been a tough and dramatic transition for me in other ways. In christianity I had an 'instant' community and heritage. My family (not just mom and dad) had/has always been a massive part of my life. As silly as it sounds, they were a source of inspiration and direction for me. So it's not being an atheist that causes the 'sadness,' and I don't know that losing family is it either. I think it's being caught between two worlds. An incredible personal liberation, sharply contrasted with what's happening in meatspace. But I suppose what's even more maddening is that I'm the one allowing my past to control my present life.

 

I've brought this up once here a while ago, so it's a bit embarrassing to admit that I'm still not over this. Perhaps I *should* make a clean break, but I feel compelled to wait. Well, okay. That's only half truth. Truthfully, I feel too scared to commit one way or another.

 

Now a try at relating all of that to my roommate. If he were to reject his faith, he would have to make a similar decision, except worse (I think.) I don't like the idea of being responsible for that.

 

Sorry to be such a downer with this post :(

 

I should be fine after some breakfast. ;)

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Oh dear. I didn't mean to get you all worked up! I've gone back and read some of your previous posts and now I just have a lot more questions! :) However, I am supposed to be working right now, so I cannot write a long post! I'll get back to it as soon as I can, but in the meantime, lighten up!!! You're O.K. Really, you are!!!!

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Well, I once shared a cubical at a job with a born-again fundy Christian. He could not talk about anything without eventually bringing up his religion, even if you tried talking about the weather. I think he was a young-Earther as well. I shared the cube for 8 months due to lack of space at work, and when there was finally an empty cube available, I asked the boss if I could move there. He asked why. I told him. My cubical neighbor ended up being the one moved. ;)

 

If you search back posts on this site from a couple of years ago or so, you'll find my many rants about him.

 

My advice is to start looking for a new place before you start secretly wanting to strangle the guy.

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I've been living with a couple other guys for the past year. Both of them are Christians, graduating or attending the same small Christian university. Thankfully, they've been pretty tolerant (sometimes even borderline supportive :P) of my lack of spirituality. We have the usual personality conflicts and housemate issues, but religion hasn't been one of them.

 

Recently we added to the household. Yet another Christian university graduate. Except this time things are a little different. He was born and raised in an African village by his missionary parents for most of his life, is employed by a religious organization, and his extended family are long time friends of my family. We were getting along well enough, but religion kept coming up, which regularly led to a smear of atheism or non-belief. So after a few weeks of this I just told him my thoughts the subject.

 

It was a revealing conversation, but ultimately just an exhausting hour-long argument that went nowhere. I went kind-of easy on him, holding back when things got a little one-sided and admitting to things that were probably received as weaknesses in my position. This was mostly to avoid a strong confrontation, but also to avoid hurting the guy. He had obviously struggled with many of the things that had led to my de-conversion, and I knew how sensitive those subjects could be to someone who isn't receptive. Especially (I imagine) when your parents have whole-heartedly devoted their lives to The Cause. I really do have respect for his parents, btw.

 

His father is a linguist, who has been developing a written language from scratch for the local tongue over the past couple decades. It really is fascinating, and even if the only book they have to read is the bible, and even if a very select number of people can actually read it, I can't help but admire his tenacity and perseverance.

 

And his son is a very likable guy as well, who I think *tries* to be intellectually honest and open-minded. And I automatically think a bit more highly of a person who ponders religion, whatever his final conclusions are. But now I don't know. I'm getting the idea he sees me as someone who he can 'win back' for Christ, occasionally dropping not-so-subtle hints. Examples like bringing up Christian-themed books, listening to/pointing out christian artists, watching video reports from foreign missionaries, etc. And it's usually accompanied by this expectant stare, like he's waiting for me to say something. Maybe he wants me to persecute him, or maybe I'm supposed to start praying for forgiveness or something. In any event, it's never outright evangelism, just the exact kind of passive-aggressive garbage I would have pulled in his position. But at least now he is more cautious with his comments about non-theists. It would be nice to think that his actual perspective changed, but that may be asking too much. :Hmm:

 

And something else-- an exchange from our argument that keeps playing in the ol' noodle. In an attempt to fill space after a particularly awkward pause, I had said that I hoped he wouldn't think less of me now that he knows what he knows. He replied that he didn't think less of me, but he just thinks it's all so 'sad.' Now, many people here have said that they were happier without Christianity, which is certainly encouraging, but unfortunately that wasn't really the case for me. His statement rang a little too true.

 

So I don't know. I don't really have a point or a question, just trying to gather up and vent out some thoughts.

 

Thanks,

 

:thanks:

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