Can someone suggest a polite way to let folks who do not share my beliefs know that I am not interested in defending my spiritual choices or hearing about their's?
I'm also not interested in belittling other people's believe systems when I come across someone who appears to share my own atheism.
I would like to do this without sounding smug or condescending.
How about something along the lines of "Look, I'm really sorry but my beliefs are a matter for my own conscience and I don't feel I should have to justify them."
I'm good with that. I just wish everyone would take no for an answer. I don't know why, but some folks get on a roll and just cannot leave it alone. I guess walking away, metaphorically speaking, would be the next answer.
Yikes, I can't imagine what that must be like. For the most part in my neck of the woods, the only time you get anyone trying to convert you is when the Jehovah's Witnesses come around. I just say "Sorry, not interested" and close the door quietly but firmly.
I actually view proselytising as a subtle form of aggression, because it's an attempt to get the other person to justify their existence. It's fine on a forum like this one (after all, one can just ignore all the religious threads), but when someone you've been talking to about non-religious matters suddenly says something like, "Have you found Jesus?" then it's hard to back away politely.
Yes, almost even passive aggressive. Many are often convinced that they are "saving" you while negating your belief system. It is definitely a way of self justification. However, as much as I agree with you, I can't see myself saying that to someone without a load of hostility coming back to me. If its a stranger or acquaintance then so be it. Family politics is something very different.
I see what you mean LOL. If it's family you're dealing with, I can't see any other way out other than to revert to the "my beliefs are a matter for my own conscience" stance I mentioned earlier. And to try to avoid the subject altogether if possible (easier said than done, from what you've said in your other posts).
Georzetta, this is a truly difficult situation you are in. I am very fortunate that my family has not had an issue with me since I came out.
Having said that, I do remember the uncomfortable tension I used to feel with them.
I understand where you are and I hope you are better than I was at smiling and nodding along.
Keep hanging in there, and smile when you can
I'm happy to meet you today.
That's tough one coming from a position of being surrounded by people (though most very kind and loving) who are hard core. I just say nothing at all. No one every ask me what I believe anyways but if they did then I would say I am an atheist.
Most of the time I just listen to whatever they are telling me because I figure it is not really worth the amount of animosity to argue my disbelief in the things they hold to be the truth.
That is true, but also just research the things that you find people say that sound like its MADE UP. Whatever information YOU find when researching can be helpful to YOUR benefits of belief of disbelief. It is good to argue things that you believe to be true to test people that say they believe to find out if they have even did any research themselves or if they are going off of blind thoughts. There is always a right and wrong in anything, but don't stop asking YOUR questions until YOU are satisfied with the answers you get. Life is a test to find out TRUTH. I think that's our main purpose here. There is no other species on the planet with the brains and thought process that we have. Just use your intuition if you believe in that to justify what you think is right and wrong.
I hope you benefit from this answer.
I think silence is often a good choice. Unfortunately, I'm in a wheelchair and that can really draw out the passionate. They are absolutely sure they have the answer and are almost desperate to share it.
useing the words smug and condescending . how should i put this?.... ohh you are what you eat. get it?
I don't think I do understand what you mean. I used the words "smug" and "condescending" because I have often felt that people who are instructing me on the "right" way to believe behaving that way. I don't want to return the ill will or engender it in someone else.
Here's what's odd to me....who is bringing up the subject of religion in a casual conversation? Like politics....it shouldn't be brought up...
When someone brings up politics to me which I couldn't give two hoots about, I go "huh, I didn't vote." and I start laughing and change the subject. I always use humor to get out of sticky situations. Now that would be funny if some hard core religion person starts in on the religious beliefs and you go "huh, I didn't vote." and start laughing.....the more sinister the laugh the better....now, that's funny, I don't care who ya are.
Outside of Hubpages I actually refuse to talk about my beliefs unless someone asks me directly. Most times I just say that my beliefs are my own and private, as most times people are asking to begin a debate. I'm Christian but I don't feel the need to convert the masses that's for others. I preach my sermons with my life.
OP good for you, at least you have decided one way or the other, now go live your life free of doubts and questions and get to it.
I certainly agree with you! I am Christian to and there is a place and time for everything. I also believe that others can make their own choices I have to work on me.
yes, I think you're right. Many people who ask just want to start a debate.
oh, if you come to a point that you need to tell them what your beliefs are, then you could tell them in a nice way like this-----
"I respect your belief even though they are not the same as mine. As a friend, we might have different belief but it should not hamper our relationship".
I tend to say things like, "Faith is important, wherever you can find it." or "Being spiritual is what matters, not what you believe."
I have had a few hampered relationships, but I've found they weren't strong friendships in the first place.
I agree. Outside of hubpages I very rarely talk about religion. With my group of friends, family and coworkers it is just understood that we are all different and respect one another.
It is hard to tell someone you don't believe as they do. Especially when you are expecting an unfavorable response. But I would just give them the benefit of the doubt that they will respect your beliefs and be honest. Hopefully it works out.
geo any idea or belief of yours is cool by me . silence is a prison
Silence is for the dead and sleeping. Just because you don't force your beliefs on anyone doesn't mean you have to let them force theirs on you.
On an intellectual basis and dealing with strangers, I agree with you.
It's the extended family members and internal politics that get sticky.
Indeed, I have devout Christians, Agnostics and two Atheists in my immediate family....there's a lively holiday dinner.
I'm actually pretty friendly when I'm not on the forums being told I'm going to hell for not attacking people's choices. I'd go easy on you.
Well there you go - there is an advantage to being an atheist in a religious fight.
When I'm told to go to hell, I'm totally not insulted.
Take it easy Scott
There are quite a few believers on here who could stand shoulder to shoulder with atheists, agnostics and other non Christians without problems.Our family is full of different beliefs, we get on with each other just fine.
Scott you seem very well adjusted.(for a religionist! ) How did you cope with the horror of war? Did you even have therapy available when you returned?Did you need external help to deal with events or was family enough?
I missed Vietnam, but lost so many friends there and even after they returned.
Our soldiers were treated like crap at home for following America in to the war, which was crazy as they were conscripted!
My Dad enlisted in WW2. Enlisted men were treated badly and called "chocolate soldiers" by their own.
While it can be enlightening and interesting to discus religious beliefs, you are right when you say that some people get downright nasty about it. If someone gets rude or nasty, you ought to honestly call them out on their rudeness.
ive noticed that sometimes when people share their beliefs others see it as a attack on theirs because there contrary to their own. and alot of times it turns into a im right your wrong shoving match .i like the exchange of ideas . not the pushing of them . and the smug thing ? every time i use that word i do it smugly . so i tend not to say it
People take things too personally that's why. I thought my DI's hated me in boot camp until i was on another area of the base and heard another DI using the same exact comment on another and realized it's all scripted and practiced...just like alot of the religious forum post. really how often do we hear a new and original argument on here? it's all canned recital pulled from TV, books, and Church.
i grew up on base my dad was usmc retired master sgt.2 tours in viet nam
when we lived at el toro in cali as kids we drove the mps crazy. i have fond memorys
we got revalied every morning and crew cuts were mandatory in a day when long hair was cool. but my dad was a great trainer his guys loved him . i have great respect for the usmc
This is an interesting thread. A lot of people have given some good suggestions.
Me, I just say, to my Aunt Barbara who seems determined to witness to me, every time we meet, that I'm glad you have found what you're looking for in your religion and that we all need to have a spiritual life, but some of us prefer to keep it a very private matter, between ourselves and our God.
That usually gets her attention long enough for me to change the subject and get on neutral ground. Usually. Not always. And then what is there to do but be polite and wait her out? Sometimes a sympathetic family member will come rescue me but not often--we've all had experience of Aunt Barb.
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