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Compassionate Attitude


Lauris
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Hello everyone!

 

An issue I want to raise is that of anger, resentment and disgust I, and I believe many others, feel towards Christianity and everything Christian. Those are never beneficial feelings, and though, of course, should not be suppressed, they can also ruin relationships with people in our lives who still are Christians.

 

I'm afraid of being an asshole when coming to religious topics in conversations with my Christian friends, because every time the subject is touched, I feel anger boiling inside of me. The attitude I would like to cultivate is understanding that they are interested/attached to Christianity for the goodness inherent in it - teachings of compassion, salvation, the brotherhood in church, etc. I wish to be able to accept that they are nto yet willing to or able to question and understand the logical/ethical legitimacy of certain dogmas and doctrines I believe to be wrong or downright stupid.

 

How do you deal with such situations?

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Hello everyone!

 

An issue I want to raise is that of anger, resentment and disgust I, and I believe many others, feel towards Christianity and everything Christian. Those are never beneficial feelings, and though, of course, should not be suppressed, they can also ruin relationships with people in our lives who still are Christians.

 

I'm afraid of being an asshole when coming to religious topics in conversations with my Christian friends, because every time the subject is touched, I feel anger boiling inside of me. The attitude I would like to cultivate is understanding that they are interested/attached to Christianity for the goodness inherent in it - teachings of compassion, salvation, the brotherhood in church, etc. I wish to be able to accept that they are nto yet willing to or able to question and understand the logical/ethical legitimacy of certain dogmas and doctrines I believe to be wrong or downright stupid.

 

How do you deal with such situations?

I think you're approaching it from the wrong angle and your sub-conscious behavior reflects what I've just premised. You said you felt anger boiling up inside of you when the subject comes up. I think that's because you realize what a load of crap all of it really is and when you see people so beguiled by its fantasies, it probably upsets you. This leads to the 2nd thing - you refer to the 'goodness inherent in it' and go on to talk about 'salvation' and the 'brotherhood' in the church. It sounds as if you're still mired in the cult and that is exactly what it is - a cult. When someone is in a cult that person is incapable of critically assessing the organization. All of those teachings about goodness and even salvation are no different than many other religions and even myths. I find it particularly odious when talking about 'salvation'. Salvation from what?

 

But getting back to your question about how to deal with them - you can't. They're in a cult and they have what I agree with a therapist who wrote a book about it - the god virus. Religion is a virus which causes an incredibly amount of more harm than any pitiful good it could do. You have to look at this from your xtian friends' viewpoint. If you are really trying to leave the cult then they are looking at you as an apostate or one of those 'lost' sheep.

 

I do agree with your opening comment about those feelings never leading to anything beneficial. From a psychological standpoint you have to control your emotions regarding this and the only way I know how to do this, at least for me, is the never discuss religion with them. If they bring up the subject, try to change it immediately. You have to realize, however, that with them by you rejecting the virus you are now their 'spiritual' enemies.

 

Those are just some thoughts of mine and not meant to be taken as expert advice by any stretch okay?

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this is something i really struggle with at the moment, so much so that i avoid talking to my family and when i do i steer the conversation away from these topics if possible (it not always is). I don't have an answer for you, perhaps there isn't one, besides doing in a genuine way that which they themselves falsely claim to do; love them unconditionally.

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I find I only really get angry in response to flat out denial of facts. It's very frustrating to be able to prove something and have someone dismiss it for something that has no factual proof. It's understandable that people get angry in response to that. However, they should rid themselves of that anger contructively, and not just bash on the religious.

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Hi Raoul.

 

I don't think I'm "mired in the cult" anymore, it's been a while. The thing is that there are people in my life I love and who are really full of kindness and the best of intentions, and they do find expressions of it in Christianity. Yes, the teachings not very different from other religions or schools of thought, and that's my point - try to see the universal ideas, against which I don't particualrily mind. My main aim is to try to see through their eyes, in the name of compassion and empathy.

 

As for salvation - salvation from suffering - a universal desire/need/want to be free from it. Although I suscribe to a more Buddhist idea of us transforming our attitude towards existence, ourselves, pain, to lessen psychological suffering, I see that that same sincere desire is inherent in Christians when they hope for the "heavenly kingdom". You see, I'm not that much syphatizing with Christianity, I'm symphatizing with Christians, specifically with those in my life, because they're human like me and I want to love them.

 

"You have to look at this from your xtian friends' viewpoint." -precisely, but the thing is, I've left the cult long ago, and even openly written and spoken against yet. Yet we've remained dear friends, and they don't view me as a "spiritual enemy", even though according to their own doctrines, they maybe should. There is always inconsistency between Christians' proclaimed beliefs and the way they live and act, but this time I guess it's for the better, hehe. And because of other circumstances un our lives, it's highly probable that conversations about this topic will be unavoidable.

 

Thanks for sharing your thoughts :).

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Thanks owen and silentknight, I aggree completely.

Yes, it's frustrating when you've laid out your points so politely and precisely that it seems impossible that someone would consider them and still not change their erronous views... The thing is though, that they don't actually consider it, because they're not ready to even imagine what they've based your life upon might be flawed. And that is understandable, so compassion is the right response, it seems.

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If you're talking about in your personal life, I would agree to a point. If you're talking about this website, people need a place to blow off steam; especially when they are working through their deconversion.

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If you're talking about in your personal life, I would agree to a point. If you're talking about this website, people need a place to blow off steam; especially when they are working through their deconversion.

 

Agreed. For some people this is the only place they can express anti-religious views.

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Hello everyone!

 

An issue I want to raise is that of anger, resentment and disgust I, and I believe many others, feel towards Christianity and everything Christian. Those are never beneficial feelings, and though, of course, should not be suppressed, they can also ruin relationships with people in our lives who still are Christians.

 

I'm afraid of being an asshole when coming to religious topics in conversations with my Christian friends, because every time the subject is touched, I feel anger boiling inside of me. The attitude I would like to cultivate is understanding that they are interested/attached to Christianity for the goodness inherent in it - teachings of compassion, salvation, the brotherhood in church, etc. I wish to be able to accept that they are nto yet willing to or able to question and understand the logical/ethical legitimacy of certain dogmas and doctrines I believe to be wrong or downright stupid.

 

How do you deal with such situations?

I think this may be a phase for you. I went through the same thing. How long have you been out of xianity? I understand exactly where you are coming from. No one can help but be a tad pissed off that religion made me waste so many years of my life and destroyed marriages, threw a curve ball to my own, and on top of that Im supposed to tolerate the hypocrital chrisitans who are perpetuating this delusion and smile and move on like nothing happened.

 

I went through a phase like that. It helps to remember that person used to be you and you didn't know the truth. You would have never believed anyone that came up and told you there was no god. You came to that realization on your own. You could probably benefit from looking at a few deconversion stories. Try to stay away from the atheist equivalents of westboro baptist church for now.

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@Vigile - I'm talking about personal life specifically.

 

@roadrunner - "It helps to remember that person used to be you and you didn't know the truth." Very true! I've been out quite a while, and am generally comfortable with forming my own beliefs and going my own path, I don't generally argue with hardcore Christians or hardcore atheists. I guess what I'm afraid of is conflict with those few dear people in my life. However, a relationship that is afraid of conflict usually lacks any real depth, doesn't it? It's all polite on the surface, and stays there. I guess when it comes to us having such a serious conversation, I should try to be respectful but firm about what I think is or isn't true, beneficial to people or ethical, explaining why I think so. If such a conflict ruins our relationship, there's nothing you can do about it, and it's for the best. If it doesn't feel pleasant, but deepens it, it's for the best also. :)

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@Vigile - I'm talking about personal life specifically.

 

@roadrunner - "It helps to remember that person used to be you and you didn't know the truth." Very true! I've been out quite a while, and am generally comfortable with forming my own beliefs and going my own path, I don't generally argue with hardcore Christians or hardcore atheists. I guess what I'm afraid of is conflict with those few dear people in my life. However, a relationship that is afraid of conflict usually lacks any real depth, doesn't it? It's all polite on the surface, and stays there. I guess when it comes to us having such a serious conversation, I should try to be respectful but firm about what I think is or isn't true, beneficial to people or ethical, explaining why I think so. If such a conflict ruins our relationship, there's nothing you can do about it, and it's for the best. If it doesn't feel pleasant, but deepens it, it's for the best also. smile.png

 

I wish I could be of more help but being in a similar situation to you, I dont feel that I can provide any "reasonable" advice based on experience. However, my gut tells me that from experience, these apprehensive feelings that we have about bringing up religion are mostly based on fear of destroying the relationships we cherish so much. Like every other hurdle in life that we've been through the fear of something is usually worse than whatever it is we we're afraid of.

 

The depth in the true relationships we have is already there but the shallow part is where the religious wall is up. They still love you and deep down you both know that the relationship is deeper than religion. My wife has told me that on occasion she feels like in my mind I think shes crazy of faking when in church. Though its kind of true it hurts and when people you love hold something dear that you think is bunk it can be insulting and thats where religious people can be offended. My sister and wife (and a few others) know I dont belive anymore and 99% of the time our relationships carry on just fine. The 1% is where THEY bring up religion. I try not to bring it up unless asked but I am very confident in my opinion and I know great deal about the bible and more about every argument that they could ever throw my way and that makes this arrogance creep out sometimes when I speak about the topic which is an immediate turn off for them.

 

Im now TRYING to be the silent good guy to help this issue that we (You and I) are dealing with. I try to be exceptionally good and if asked about it, I will simply let whoever give me 3 reasons that I should choose christianity over any other religion. Sadly (and also the most frustrating thing) is most xians I know have no basis for their belief and never had to think about it. but sending them on this journey (I think) may be more of a learning experience for them. Im not talking about googling "witness to an atheist" and sending me a link to the book. Im talking about sparking a fire in someone. Im not naive enough to think that all of my friends will do this and deconvert but I do hope that this will at least give them some understanding of my point of view. It hurts to be misunderstood and thats the toughest part.

 

Edited: for spelling and typos

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@roadrunner

 

I highly appreciate you sharing your situation and point of view. True, it is mostly fear of destroying relationships, and also true that fear is often scarier than the occasion itself.

 

I'll share another issue. In my situation there are a few people involved, including a 2 year old boy, he's not my kid (his parents are divorced), but I spend a lot of time with him and we love each other. But his mom and other people in his life are generally Christian. He hasn't started talking and asking questions yet, but when he does... Well, I have a bad taste in my mouth thinking that he will be brought into religion and indoctrinated at an early age, but I have little say about that... sort of.

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Perhaps you can learn to separate the person from what he represents. Something like the way a defense attorney and the prosecutor in his case can go out for drinks after court, realizing that each is doing what he thinks is right/supposed to do. Of course, this won't work with rabid Christians who never STFU. There are certain people I can't be around, not because I disagree with them, but because they never stop preaching their religion/politics.

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@florduh

 

Totally, and that's what I'm constantly trying to do. Christians have a saying "hate the sin, not the sinner", well, I sort of turn it around and say "hate Christianity, not all Christians"... well, I don't actually say that, but you see my point :D. And the people in question aren't preaching at all. Still we are disagreeing on a very important topic for them, what half of their life revolves around, really.

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As Christians, I think many of us were taught to immediately feel a sense of shame whenever we would feel an aggressive emotion such as anger. When I was a Christian, I'd feel triumphant when my non-Christian friends would get angry. Many Christian posters here do the same thing, they think "ooh he's getting emotional, that means God is convicting him!"

 

I try to deal with it like this: As long as I'm not being intentionally hurtful, then I have zero responsibility for how another person feels about me, my views, or how I express myself. If they don't like it, that is THEIR problem, not mine.

 

This is not as easy to put into practice as it sounds, it's actually very difficult process of creating boundaries and not letting others make you feel guilty about how you feel.

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@roadrunner

 

I highly appreciate you sharing your situation and point of view. True, it is mostly fear of destroying relationships, and also true that fear is often scarier than the occasion itself.

 

I'll share another issue. In my situation there are a few people involved, including a 2 year old boy, he's not my kid (his parents are divorced), but I spend a lot of time with him and we love each other. But his mom and other people in his life are generally Christian. He hasn't started talking and asking questions yet, but when he does... Well, I have a bad taste in my mouth thinking that he will be brought into religion and indoctrinated at an early age, but I have little say about that... sort of.

 

I understand completely. I have a two year old child (and a 4 year old). Children are VERY inquisitive but even more impressionable. They put a lot of trust in their parents and society for what is truth, what is real, and even the why's in life. It pains me to see them in church but I choose to make them scientifically literate (see Neil Degrasse Tyson) and they can then make up their own mind. Ask them WHY all the time so they know to have a reason for the positions they hold.

 

Its important to remember that Indoctrination can also work the other way. Had I chosen to raise them to see church as delusion at its finest, that would be hypocritical. So I show them all sides of the story. Religions and cultures all over the globe and common sense should then kick in.

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Also, being in a divorced home, the deck is begining to be stacked against this kid. I cant name how many people I know who's testimony involves having an absent father. How convenient that there is an even better, bigger, invisible one in the sky who loves me. I think once people have their emotions and relationships established and their needs are being met, they stand a good chance of dodging religion.

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It helps to remember that person used to be you and you didn't know the truth.

I remember all too well how deluded I was. Gawd. I was a lunatic. I'm lucky to have escaped with my sanity intact.

 

Sometimes I just pretend I'm conducting an ethnographic study of Christian life. I collect data and then categorize it and file it away and get on with my life.

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