Losing Friends to Religion

Homepage Forums Atheism Losing Friends to Religion

This topic contains 44 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  Glen D 1 year, 4 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 31 through 45 (of 45 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #27124

    Anna
    Participant

    @davis @Glen Thank you so much for that.

    She actually told me that she rejects the good part of the Bible as well as the Catholic Church (especially the present Pope for being too SOFT and not representing the true believers, “true” meaning radical). She just chooses to read the New Testament. Classic case of cherry picking. There were so many inconsistencies in her reasoning that it made no sense to point them out to her. I wouldn’t even know where to start. She also became very radical in terms of politics, education, human rights etc. At one point she told me that all immigrants are scum. I reminded her as gently as I could that SHE IS an immigrant, she is still living abroad. She’s been living there for the past 15 years! Did some of you ever encounter such level of cognitive dissonance?

    But all that is no problem at all. Although I am an atheist I am perfectly capable of accepting that other people have religious beliefs (I can’t and won’t accept basic anti-human rights beliefs though). I admit that I am not perfect myself, no one is. I might have done or said something (even unintentionally) that made her feel bad. I asked her if that was the case. She said no. That at least made me feel somewhat better because I knew then that it was not my fault.

    I also know from other sources that she insists on her close relatives that they read the New Testament. Her mother got really tired of her at this point, so I know now that I should not take it personally. Nevertheless, I feel hurt.

    Thank you all for reading and helping!

    #27125

    Davis
    Moderator

    @ana sounds very toxic. I can stand religious people occasionally talking about their stupid religions. I cannot tolerate them bad mouthing races, genders etc or piling on the hate. It’s one thing to respect different opinions…it’s another to allow toxicity into your life…especially someone so quick to dehumanise others .

    #27126

    Glen D
    Participant

    @ana

    Welcome.

     

    From what you’ve written, your friend seems seriously disturbed. A pop psychology answer is that her extreme religious  beliefs  may be her way of coping with some devastating life event(s). In any case, nothing you can do to help her. Like deeply disturbed people generally, she will almost certainly have no insight into her condition.

    I think showing compassion is the moral thing to do. It may be necessary to do that from a distance, without direct contact.  In my opinion, it’s not Ok that you suffer for her issues.

     

     

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by  Glen D.
    • This reply was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by  Glen D.
    • This reply was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by  Glen D.
    #27143

    Anna
    Participant

    @davis I agree, she sounds very toxic but she was never like that. She was always the most kind and empathic person I have ever known. She stood for others even when we were kids. She was THE kid who always stood up against bullies to protect their victims. It tells a lot about a person if she is able to do that at the age of 8! And now she became a bully. This is also why I can’t understand this radical change.

    Once again, thank you all for reading!

    #27144

    @Anna – I see religion as having a corrupting influence on people. The more fundamental or extreme the beliefs, the more damaged people become. With cults it is even more so. They are brainwashed into believing that they are chosen by God, that they are saved and that everyone else is different and unworthy unless they repent and believe as they do.

    You mentioned “cognitive dissonance” earlier. Somewhere in her mind, like most religious people, she feels the conflict between her reasoning and her faith, her intellect and her emotional reliance on her belief system. Members often feel obliged to the leaders and preachers in the cult and it can have a greater influence on them than any obligation they have towards friends and family. Cults are very good at isolation techniques.

    I suspect this is what your friend went through. When you are in contact with each other she is aware the bonds of your friendship but she is conflicted because “you are not one of us”. She has been indoctrinated to be on guard in the presence of non-believes (deceivers). Christians are commanded to put Jesus first and above all others.

    Most of the time the mental itching caused by her cognitive dissonance is not a problem. But when you are both in contact she is compelled to consider why her doubts increase. How could someone I have known all my life, as a friend and a person I know, be an atheist? “She (you) never did anything to break that trust yet I must be wary of her as she is instilling doubts in my mind…….and the Bible has warned me about such people”. The conflict caused by the doubt can lead to frustrations because she (probably) is unable to deal with them yet associates them with being in contact with you.

    I have an old acquaintance that I see every now and then. He became an alcoholic and once said to me that he did not have a problem with people who do not drink. I found that a strange remark. I asked him when the last time he spend 24 hours with a sober person was. He could not answer me. I told him I drink a single malt whiskey once a year on Hitchens birthday and maybe a glass of wine at Thanksgiving and that is enough for me. I said to him that I don’t see not drinking as a sacrifice.  He started scratching his legs and suddenly remembered he had something very important to do. I heard from him a few months later. He told me was sober for the last 4 months. That was 2 years ago. Recently he thanked me for his “first step” as something I said “clicked” with him. He gives Jesus thanks and praise for keeping him sober since and avoids me because I am an atheist that could make him fall off the bandwagon. “No offense and all that, I am sure you understand….”

    So he had no problem with people who don’t drink but a problem with people who don’t accept Jesus as their higher power. I will skin one up and think about that later. Putting an imaginary god first is a terrible thing to do.

    #27145

    Anna
    Participant

    @Reg, I agree with you. Religions are so divisive. Instead of bringing people closer to each other, especially if somebody is helping you, they will only create imaginary boundaries and divide people in the fastest and meanest way possible: we and THEM. So sad really.

    #27147

    _Robert_
    Participant

    @Reg, I agree with you. Religions are so divisive. Instead of bringing people closer to each other, especially if somebody is helping you, they will only create imaginary boundaries and divide people in the fastest and meanest way possible: we and THEM. So sad really.

    Religion: Giving comfort to people in a world divided by religion.

    #27148

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    This is also why I can’t understand this radical change.

    This abrupt reversal of character is a strong indication that she’s not all there mentally.

    It’s amazing how quickly religion can become a stick with which to beat outsiders.

    #27149

    Anna
    Participant

    true and very sad.

    Also, a thought just occurred to me. If she became a radical muslim/orthodox/you name the religion or cult, instead of a radical christian I am sure that everybody would rush to save her. They would talk to her, try to free her from this dangerous religion/cult. They would recognize the symptoms of separation form family and friends, changes in mood, in behaviour etc.  But since in our surrounding christians and not muslims/others are the majority then everybody is very soft about her change. People are so accustomed to this particular nonsense that they can’t see that obviously something wrong is happening to her. She may be perceived as increasingly annoying but there is nothing dangerous happening from their perspective.

    #27151

    I sometimes have “everyday” Christians (mostly Catholics) ask me why I so often engage Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons and Evangelicals in conversation. My answer never pleases them.

    I debate with the first two because I think they are “real Christians”. They take their faith seriously and their debates with me seriously. We have respectful conversations. The Catholics will tell me that they are serious about their faith too, so I will ask them which chapter of the Bible the verse “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” comes from. Still waiting for a correct answer :-). With the latter, the Evangelicals, I only speak with them when helping them campaign against the State to gain equal rights that the majority religion, Catholicism, denies them in the public sphere, just as it does us atheists.

    The reactions I get are priceless. Sometimes I follow up by asking them  if they are upset that Catholics are not allowed to be vegetarians. “What are you talking about? Of course we can be vegetarian”!!

    But you eat the fleshy meat of Jesus and drink his blood at Mass so you can’t be???

    “It’s only symbolic, it is not really His flesh”.

    “Oh, so you are Protestants then”?

    For everything else there’s MasterCard!

    Funny how theists can look at another religion with a modern critical eye and see how silly such beliefs appear but view their own with a mindset from the middle-ages. Their own religion was once a small cult.

     

    #27161

    _Robert_
    Participant

    But you eat the fleshy meat of Jesus and drink his blood at Mass…

    Transubstantiation is so much better when you wear a ridiculous hat !!!

     

    #27164

    Unseen
    Participant

    My ex-wife and I are both atheists (though my ex has “spiritual” tendencies), but somewhere along the way my daughter got religion. We’re not at odds over it, though, mostly by avoiding religion.

    Her church is one of those makeshift “Christian” churches whose theology is totally in the hands of the pastor and is unaffiliated with any of the major Protestant sects. There are many such churches nowadays.

    She also has pseudoscientific tendencies and believe that essential oils can cure all sorts of things.

    BUT, she seems to be happy and is a good mother to my grandkids.

    #27165

    Unseen
    Participant

    My ex-wife and I are both atheists (though my ex has “spiritual” tendencies), but somewhere along the way my daughter got religion. We’re not at odds over it, though, mostly by avoiding discussing it.

    Her church is one of those makeshift “Christian” churches whose theology is totally in the hands of the pastor and is unaffiliated with any of the major Protestant sects. There are many such churches nowadays.

    She also has pseudoscientific tendencies and believe that essential oils can cure all sorts of things.

    BUT, she seems to be happy and is a good mother to my grandkids.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by  Unseen.
    #27167

    _Robert_
    Participant

    Could have been worse, Unseen. My soon to be ex-wife announced she was called to the ministry just as I was done being a Catholic. I can’t imagine a couple being on more divergent paths. Yeah so she looked so good in her tiny bikini and that was my weakness for her but she broke our contract. Post our lopsided-in-her favor divorce she stalked me for a few years until I threatened her with the law. What a fine Christian. I survived her

    #27168

    Glen D
    Participant

    @-Robert-

    I empathise.

    My ex wife returned to the [catholic] church after we had been married for 8 years. I was peeved, but her right, couldn’t day anything.

    I did have something to say when after the divorce when the hypocritical cow applied for an annulment. No kids so there has never ben a need to contact her since. I’m grateful for that.

    She stalked you? Sheeet!  My divorce was slightly in her favour, but everything significant was in joint names. I didn’t even bother with a lawyer; I would have paid $5k to get $2k (I did have a freebie  20 minute consult with a Family Law lawyer at  The Family Law court; saved me a fortune; I took a list))

     

     

Viewing 15 posts - 31 through 45 (of 45 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.