I'm so confused. I was raised Christian... (how to respond to my minister brother) [YOU RESPOND]

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I'm so confused. I was raised Christian... (how to respond to my minister brother) [YOU RESPOND]

From:
Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2008 1:22 PM
Subject: [General Question] How to respond to my minister brother

Robin D. sent a message using the contact form at http://www.rationalresponders.com/contact.

I'm so confused right now. I was raised Christian. My father was a pastor, my brother is a pastor, etc., etc., etc.

At the age of 16 I entered college and slowly but surely became atheist. I didn't tell my family, but my brother suspected it because of comments like "the trinity is incest." After graduation, I had an empiphony. I finally understood Christianity. I wanted to let everyone else understand what I then understood. I joined a Theologiccal seminary, but then I soon realized that I made hastey, unwise, emotional decision. I was in seminary for only one month. I returned to atheism after being a Christian for 4 months.

I told my brother that I was atheist, and we had a philosophical discussion. He gave me three distinct reasons why he is Christian:

1) Because he needs to be (makes him a better person, gives him a moral compass, gives him the drive he needs)

2) No other religion has rocked the world like Christianity, nor does any other religion give so much wisdom.

3) Being Christian has never let him down before.

 

Unfortunately, I could only give 2 distinct reasons why I am an atheist:

 

1) I have no reason to believe in God

2) I dont believe in Zeus, Thor, etc.

 

 I later gave a 3rd one, but I hate using this one. 3) Because I believe in the material world and science.

 

To make a long story short, my brother concluded that I have no reason to not believe in God because I was raised Christian. He would expect someone raised muslim to maintain Islam; someone who is Hindu to stand up for Hinduism; and even someone who was raised atheist to be the best atheist he could be. But I have no excuse for going from Christianity to atheism.

OK, that argument meant nothing to me. But what is tripping me is what followed:

It is arrogance that is my god. I am so arrogant that I wont even give God a chance. Now, lately my entire family has said this to me, and they dont even know Im atheist except my brother. Not only this, my best friend (who is Hindu/atheist) has said that "I'm so arrogant no one can tell me anything." My girlfriend said that I have "such undeserved conceit."

In that 4 month period that I was Christian, however, I was truly different. I was a humble person, and, dare I say, a better person.  I was a more joyful person, and I had peace. The day that I resolved my atheism, people noticed a difference in me.

 

I kind of think that there might be some validity to "arrogance being my god" and I'm too "arrogant to try god." How do I respond to this? More importantly, how do I not carry an arrogant demenor? I lost it during that 4month period, how do I lose it again? Also, how would you respond to the argument that I have no reason to not believe in God?

 

Thanks again,

Robin D.

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JillSwift
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Congratulations on choosing

Congratulations on choosing to be rational!

Your brother's "conclusion" about your atheism is utter bunk. You don't need a laundry list of reasons to justify not be living in something that has no empirical evidence, your first reason listed is sufficient.

The arrogance argument is one of the most annoying arguments a Christian can bring to bear. It's an appeal to taboo and guilt and nothing more. It's also ironic: Think about this carefully; what is more arrogant? The idea that you're a member of an evolved species in a stark universe that doesn't even notice you, or the idea that you were created specially by an all-powerful (or nearly so) being who cares about every decision you personally make and every act you perform and wants you to love it so it can love you back that even answers your requests for help?

The "arrogance" people see in you is really the result of your not being under the thumb of an imaginary control freak. They're not seeing the nearly imperceptible cower and wince of worrying if the imaginary lawgiver will be angry with you.

That freedom nothing to give up, hon. That's something to aspire to!

"Anyone can repress a woman, but you need 'dictated' scriptures to feel you're really right in repressing her. In the same way, homophobes thrive everywhere. But you must feel you've got scripture on your side to come up with the tedious 'Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve' style arguments instead of just recognising that some people are different." - Douglas Murray


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I am also a recovering

I am also a recovering christian.  Requiring rationality from others is not arrogance.

Your brother has stated several things that I would disagree with, but this will be too long if I write about each one.  In general, using analogies works well.  The new testament uses so many because they work.  Here is an example.

1)  I know someone with a chrionic pain disease.  She takes opiates every day in order to be able to get out of bed and function.  Should I become a heroin addict because she can't live without her opiates?  I think not.

2)  No religion has rocked the world like christianity?  LOL.  That is a very narrow, and dare I say, arrogant viewpoint.  Christianity allowed Europe to remain mired in the Dark Ages without any hope of change for centuries and actively blocked the Renaissance.  Granted, it did therefore have great cutural implications for many people, but so have buddhism, islam, and hinduism to name a few.

Don't worry about trying to have a response to everything they say.  Faith requires blind obedience and a willingness to twist logic.  That is easier and can be done more quickly than finding a way around reality.  You will not change their minds about religion.  You need a long-term strategy of higher moral ground.  If you feel yourself becoming angry and frustrated, ask them for time to allow you to think on whatever subject you are discussing. 

When you come across a specific issue that you don't know how to explain to yourself or others, google it.  See what others have thought about the same issue.  It helps.  Lastly, you are young.  My grandmother is 96 and there is still a lot she doesn't know.  Give yourself time to figure out where you fit into this earth and what your life means to you.  I wish you well. 

 

 


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If seek him with all your heart you will find him.

 

The only one I know who can tell me of there is life after death, is my Dad.  These are words of my Dad.   My Child, You may not know me, but I know everything about you. Psalm 139:1 I know when you sit down and when you rise up. Psalm 139:2 I am familiar with all your ways. Psalm 139:3 Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. Matthew 10:29-31 For you were made in my image. Genesis 1:27 In me you live and move and have your being.Acts 17:28 For you are my offspring. Acts 17:28 I knew you even before you were conceived. Jeremiah 1:4-5 I chose you when I planned creation. Ephesians 1:11-12 You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. Psalm 139:15-16 I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. Acts 17:26 You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14 I knit you together in your mother's womb. Psalm 139:13 And brought you forth on the day you were born. Psalm 71:6 I have been misrepresented by those who don't know me.John 8:41-44 I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. 1 John 4:16 And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. 1 John 3:1 Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. 1 John 3:1 I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. Matthew 7:11 For I am the perfect father. Matthew 5:48 Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. James 1:17 For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. Matthew 6:31-33 My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11 Because I love you with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3 My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore.Psalms 139:17-18 And I rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17 I will never stop doing good to you. Jeremiah 32:40 For you are my treasured possession. Exodus 19:5 I desire to establish youwith all my heart and all my soul. Jeremiah 32:41 And I want to show you great and marvelous things. Jeremiah 33:3 If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. Deuteronomy 4:29 Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 For it is I who gave you those desires. Philippians 2:13 I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. Ephesians 3:20 For I am your greatest encourager. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. Psalm 34:18 As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. Isaiah 40:11 One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. Revelation 21:3-4 And I'll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth.Revelation 21:3-4 I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus.John 17:23 For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. John 17:26 He is the exact representation of my being. Hebrews 1:3 He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. Romans 8:31 And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.2 Corinthians 5:18-19 Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. 1 John 4:10 I gave up everything I lovedthat I might gain your love. Romans 8:31-32 If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me. 1 John 2:23 And nothing will ever separate you from my love again.Romans 8:38-39 Come home and I'll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen.Luke 15:7 I have always been Father, and will always be Father.Ephesians 3:14-15 My question is…Will you be my child? John 1:12-13 I am waiting for you. Luke 15:11-32 Love, Your DadAlmighty God. 

 

 


Vastet
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The people who WERE engaging

The people who WERE engaging in this discussion 4 YEARS ago were quite capable of reading the book of lies and ignorance without you copy/pasting text from it.
Thanks anyway.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


iwbiek
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Vastet wrote:The people who

Vastet wrote:
The people who WERE engaging in this discussion 4 YEARS ago were quite capable of reading the book of lies and ignorance without you copy/pasting text from it. Thanks anyway.

ah yes, 4 years ago.  jilly bean is another poster i miss.  she's the only lesbian i ever desperately tried to convince to bone guys.  or at least bone me.  so hot...so hot...

goddammit, this board's a fucking SAUSAGE FEST these days...

"I asked my father,
I said, 'Father change my name.'
The one I'm using now it's covered up
with fear and filth and cowardice and shame."
--Leonard Cohen


digitalbeachbum
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I definitely have an answer

I definitely have an answer for you:

wrote:
1) Because he needs to be (makes him a better person, gives him a moral compass, gives him the drive he needs)

I disagree with this for several reasons but I'll give you one really good one which sums up the other five.

My brother is an Atheist and he still goes to church with his wife and kids. I asked him why he goes to church and he said that it is because the church he picked is constructive and non-biased. He said they have women pastors, gays, blacks, Asians, etc. Apparently they even have different opinions on Jesus, Mary, god, Buddha, etc, where all of them are normal humans who were amazingly gifted masters.

Apparently their church also has a mix of religions from their followers. They have Jews, Hindus, American Indian, etc. and they all work together and help those in need. He said that they all believe that the other religions are mistaken by forcing only one absolute view on life and that people are misguided on what is real love and compassion.

So in closing, being Christian is right for your brother, but it might not be right for you. You need to find yourself and not be forced to be what others in your family believe.

wrote:
2) No other religion has rocked the world like Christianity, nor does any other religion give so much wisdom.

See my comments above. While christianity is good for him it might not be good for you.

You must find your own path in life.

wrote:
3) Being Christian has never let him down before.

This is a misnomer. Has air let him down before? Has food let him down before? Has school let him down before? It is also a personal opinion which works great for him but not for others of the same faith.

wrote:
1) I have no reason to believe in God

Good for you. This is your belief. Stick to your guns. Don't be forced in to believing another belief through fear and indimidation.

wrote:
2) I dont believe in Zeus, Thor, etc.

See above reply

wrote:
3) Because I believe in the material world and science.

See above reply

wrote:
It is arrogance that is my god. I am so arrogant that I wont even give God a chance. Now, lately my entire family has said this to me, and they dont even know Im atheist except my brother. Not only this, my best friend (who is Hindu/atheist) has said that "I'm so arrogant no one can tell me anything." My girlfriend said that I have "such undeserved conceit."

In that 4 month period that I was Christian, however, I was truly different. I was a humble person, and, dare I say, a better person.  I was a more joyful person, and I had peace. The day that I resolved my atheism, people noticed a difference in me.

I kind of think that there might be some validity to "arrogance being my god" and I'm too "arrogant to try god." How do I respond to this? More importantly, how do I not carry an arrogant demenor? I lost it during that 4month period, how do I lose it again? Also, how would you respond to the argument that I have  reason to not believe in God?

Wow! That must be a universal reply from christians because I had a similar issue with my family when I told them I was an Atheist.

I was told that I didn't give god a chance and that I was arrogant.

My reply?

That they were TOO ARROGANT not to question god or their faith. They just "accepted it" and when they came across something with didn't jive or they didn't have an answer for they just said "I'll leave it to god" or "It wasn't meant to be that I should understand at this time".

What a bunch of hogwash.

Ignorant people stick their heads in to the sand and refuse to question their faith because they are afraid of the results. If they are right then they are punished for challenging god. If they are wrong then they are afraid they will look stupid so their pride prevents them from questioning their faith.

I used to be arrogant but it wasn't the lack of god or faith which made me arrogant. It was a stage I was going through and I was challenging everything. I was uncomfortable with this because I was going against my family and friends about everything they believed in.

Yep. You are most likely arrogant, but that doesn't make you a bad person. You too are going through a stage and until you are comfortable with who you are then you most likely will continue being that way.

I got rid of my arrogance by understanding that it was OK for others to believe in what they wanted and that it was OK for me to believe in what I believed. If others didn't believe in what I believed in then "OH WELL" that's their life not mine.

I will warn you. I lost a lot of friends and family along the way. I have people who used to be my best friends in high school and over time they refused to speak to me because I didn't believe in what they believed in. They tried to use fear (the loss of their friendship) to convince me that I should be like them, but I was better christian than they were; they had all these conditions they placed on love and friendship.

 

 

Free will is an illusion. People always choose the perceived path of greatest pleasure.

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