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I Felt Like A Hypocrite!


VeryBerry
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Hello fellow exchristians!

 

I haven't posted here for a while, but I read the new posts weekly. For those of you who don't recognize the screen name, I am not a new member. I have been a member for a few years and I am really grateful for this site.

 

Let me cut to the chase! During the month of June, two of my friends lost their parents. To top it off, I was also shocked and saddened to learn that one of the beloved members of my choir (from my former church), died suddenly. She got hit by a car while she was riding her bike. I used to have lunch at her house every Sunday and we used to hang out on the weekends. I was so devastated by the her death that I couldn't find the tears to cry for two days.

 

The problem was that both of my friends who lost their parents are staunch pentecostals. Consequently, they could only be comforted by scriptures about the afterlife and so on. I found myself regurgitating all the myths about heaven that I learned in church. I felt sick to my stomach; however, I still mumbled, babbled, blurted out lies about my friends' parents being in the arms of Jesus singing God's praises. I felt like the biggest hypocrite on the face of the earth. In fact, none of friends are aware of the depth of my disbelief...they just assumed that I am appalled by organized religions. They think that I am still a Christian.

 

I couldn't tell the girl is supposed to get married in September that her beloved mother is not in heaven because heaven doesn't really exist. I forgot to mention that the woman that got hit by a car while riding her bike was only 53 years old. She was supposed to retire in two years. She was a devout christian. She had two daughters. The oldest daughter just had a baby, and the youngest daughter will be tying the knot in September. I couldn't stay quiet! I would have looked indifferent to their pain. I felt like I had to say something inspiring.

 

I still can't undrestand how I was able to comfort people in pain with bible verses that I don't believe in. I still feel guilty about it. Was it very hypocritical of me???

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Nope. thats a unique part of being in the position we're in. we can do this without being hypocrites. ;)

 

You gave comfort. Theres nothing wrong with that. If thats what they believe, and you're comforting them via their belief system, so what? Better than saying, "sorry, she's pushing up daises".

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Agree with everyone else. Under the circumstances, you did the right thing. Don't beat yourself up anymore.

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I don't think so. People instinctively want to say what they think is true, but what you did was the right thing because it comforted people who are grieving.

 

Don't rule Heaven out completely. If it's not real, we just get annihilated and we will never see our loved ones again. You might as well believe while you are alive, because it gives hope for our future--and if it's not real, we'll never know the difference anyway. You don't have to be Xian to believe in hope.

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I'm torn on this issue as well. But I look at it this way- it's more about the person you're comforting than yourself. If you're talking to a christian it makes sense to use christian references, an atheist: atheist references, a muslim: islamic references, you get the idea.

So sorry to hear about your recent loss

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I don't think so either. The people you spoke to have no other way of understanding the universe, so if you're going to comfort them you have to do it on their terms. If the situation should happen again and you're in a similar position, you can tone it down if you want, make it a little more generic. I've known people who are really good at that. You can't tell if they're christians or not. They seem bigger somehow, spiritually I mean. They know how to reach people no matter where they are in life.

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...You gave comfort. Theres nothing wrong with that. If thats what they believe, and you're comforting them via their belief system, so what? Better than saying, "sorry, she's pushing up daises".

 

Indeed. They are not in the mental condition to deal with any amount of realism due to the shock of having lost a loved one. What good would it do to, instead of comforting them with myths they believe them, kick them in the face with the facts?

 

I'm torn on this issue as well. But I look at it this way- it's more about the person you're comforting than yourself. If you're talking to a christian it makes sense to use christian references, an atheist: atheist references, a muslim: islamic references, you get the idea.

 

Exactly.

 

Now, if you want to gently push them away from their myths... dunno, I'm not an expert on this and I lack personal experience because I never was a true willfully braindead morontheist... maybe once they got over the initial shock you can sow some seeds of doubt within their earshot, like thinking aloud that no matter what the myth says was good about the loved ones' early passing you can't wrap your mind around the supposed "beneficial" nature of it or such. :shrug: In the long term it might work. You will have to keep in mind though that "you can lead a morontheist to knowledge but you can't make him think". You can give them toys to play wtih but if they aren't in the mood to play you can't do much about that aside from hoping that tomorrow they'll feel better.

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I am sorry about your church friend. I think with what you did is like when we tell a "white lie". We do it to spare hurting the other person. Honesty is NOT always the best policy in certain scenarios. And under the circumstances it was probably a knee jerk reaction to say those things you did because it is easy and familiar to you and to the people involved.

I think What Voice said is possible. You can still offer comfort and be vague with what you believe in those types of situations. And maybe you will be able to at another time.

 

I hope you can be easy on yourself and have peace over this. Losing someone special is a difficult time for all. You were there for your friends and that is Something you can have peace with.

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I don't think so either. The people you spoke to have no other way of understanding the universe, so if you're going to comfort them you have to do it on their terms. If the situation should happen again and you're in a similar position, you can tone it down if you want, make it a little more generic. I've known people who are really good at that. You can't tell if they're christians or not. They seem bigger somehow, spiritually I mean. They know how to reach people no matter where they are in life.

 

I agree fully. I have even run into circumstances where people have responded to me in conversations in ways that Christians usually respond to each other, (such as telling me, "God bless, brother"), because they think that I am a Christian, just like them. I guess I still give off that Christian vibe, and maybe I'm still using language that they do without even realizing it, since I am only about 2 years out of Christianity, and for the most part, outside of a few close friends and my co-workers, I'm still a closet agnostic...

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You did the right thing...the human thing. You acted more like a xian than most xians. Good for you smile.png

 

So true. Telling them there is no heaven is like telling a nonbeliever that their friend is going to hell. It's just cruel.

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Nope. thats a unique part of being in the position we're in. we can do this without being hypocrites. wink.png

 

You gave comfort. Theres nothing wrong with that. If thats what they believe, and you're comforting them via their belief system, so what? Better than saying, "sorry, she's pushing up daises".

 

Thanks for your encouraging words. I also had to deal with the preaching about heaven and hell during the funeral. That was more unbearable than pretending to believe in an afterlife.

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I agree with McDaddy and florduh. You comforted them using their own points of reference. Nothing wrong with that.

 

Hey OF, how are you? You provided me with great advice in the past. Thanks for your support.

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I would like to say thank you to everyone who provided me with great advice and encouragement. I do feel better about using christian lingo to comfort my friends.

 

On another note, once one of my friends found out that I stopped attending church, she started babbling about God's goodnesss; how we are nothing without God; no church is perfect and so on. I wanted to tell her to STFU. She asked me for a ride to the cemetary, but she wouldn't shut up about how great God is. I made sure to stay away from her at the repass.

 

I don't know if many of you have expereinced that, but, once someone leaves the church, Christians expect he/she to be miserable, looking horrible, or simply living a life full of disappointments. What a misguided perception! I believe that whether one is a Christian or not, shit happens. The former members of my church couldn't believe that I was doing fine after leaving their cult. I put in the extra effort to look my best at the wakes and funerals. I know it sounds kind of vain; however, I knew the type of women I was dealing with. They couldn't wait to see me. They wanted to know if I became and looked miserable without their fellowship. Christians are known to use other people's vulnerabilities or/pain to convince them to return to the fold or to convert them.

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