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How to deal with religious family and friends?

Being an agnostic is especially challenging when you're surrounded with religion family and friends. Often they will try to convert you to their religion, become hostile towards you or even disown you. What are your thoughts on how to retain a good relationship with religion people?

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106 comments

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10

I tell them that they can believe in what they want, but do not try to impose those beliefs on me.

10

I just listen . I am always open to others opinions .

Even when you know those opinions are stupid?

6

They have a right to believe what they want, just like I do. As long as they don't push their religious beliefs onto me, we will all get along fine

5

When they present me with religious literature and books, I tell them that I promise to read them, if they are willing to read my book collection and follow it up with a serious discussion. I have a friend who sends me religious stuff and I reply with atheist philosophy and literature, of which there is more than plenty. Her emails have become fewer for some strange reason. πŸ˜‰

5

Respect is a way to get along with others. If they preach their beliefs to me, I kindly explain I have no interest. I don't try to convert religious folks but am willing to explain why I am not.

4

I have always been an open atheist and usually enjoy getting into conversations about religion with friends and family, most of whom are religious. But some family members can not handle having their beliefs questions and have either stopped talking to me or have cut me out completely. I find it incredibly sad that people are willing to cut people out of their lives out of fear they might loose some part of their faith.

4

Live and let live...let them practice whatever they believe in! Ensure that nobody is forcing their views on other people or on you...indulge in constructive arguments and debates but don't lose context and control over yourselves...

ron29 Level 2 Nov 22, 2017

If it’s kept to themselves. When it spills over into politics (which is 99% of our elected officials in US) detriment and damage ensues.

@ChrisFL "Let them practice whatever they believe in". - 9/11.

4

We always have a certain degree of respect or maybe even just tolerance and civility

4

Do not argue with them.

You just got tired let them do whatever they want. Let them belive whatever

To some degree, a status quo behavior stifles medicinal and scientific progress and humanity’s...look at the current political and climatological predicament we are in. I heavily blame religion, it primes people to believe unfounded and non-factual things. Typically with dire consequences.

I'm not going to let them "do whatever they want" because it's going to affect me and you.

4

It's difficult, but if you love those people you have to cut the balance between honesty and respect.

3

Honestly, the best way--if you're interested in keeping relationships with these people--is to avoid religious discussion, usually at the sake of your own self-expression. Sometimes, even "I do not want to discuss that" is enough for them to be angry. There really is no one way of dealing with their bullshit. The only thing that worked with my family was smiling and nodding, but I grew weary of that. Now, I don't give a fuck about keeping relationships with them, if they don't care about keeping them with me. Why should I? If that's enough for them to not want to deal with me, they do not deserve my company.

My mother has come around, over time. But it took a lot of work, a lot of intense arguments, insults to my parenting (you're just sending your child to hell, don't you even care?!), etc. But she finally got the picture, saw that I was ever becoming a better person, and she eventually stopped. She still prefaces some of her points with, "Now, I know we believe differently," which can be annoying, but we are much closer and more honest now. Though, we do avoid the topic of religion when possible. lol

I kinda lost my point in there. Lol. Hope this helps.

3

When I arrived in the United States, I was a known atheist. Most atheist communities actually closed their doors on me in times of need. I found a shelter with a United Methodist Intentional Community. They googled on me and found out that I was atheist. That didn't stop them from taking me in. For the last two years, I have observed them praying daily from 7;00am to 8:00am. At first, I pretended that it was meaningful to join them in prayer each day, well knowing that I didn't believe in it. One day I asked them if they will get upset if I stopped attending prayer and church? They all, 12 of them said, NO. We love you as a human being and we are not called to convert you. Since then, I am at peace with myself and them. They never discuss Jesus when I am with them. I never reference to Bible. The love I have received in this community,actually forced me to relax my open criticism of christianity for now. So, it's all about live and let others live as they wish.

3

As long as they don't try to convert me, we are fine, otherwise I avoid them.

2

I just stay outside the group when they say the blessing at dinner. If confronted in any way I just tell them "I believe in religious equality because they're all bullshit."

2

All of my religious relatives years ago have snubbed me because I'm different than most people. My Atheist relatives accept me for the way I' am and I'm very happy about this.

After watching a video on Youtube 2 years ago, I became an atheist and as far as religious people are concerned, don't try to convert me and we will get along just fine, and if you do, I will tell you the truth that the bible is nothing but fairy tales.

2

I am honest with them regarding my position and if that is not good enough we do not associate any longer. I do not criticize them for their beliefs and expect the same from them. If they wish to debate religion we do so in an adult manner.

2

I am at a point in my life where I come right out and tell them. If they can't accept that and I loose family and friends so be it. I can no long stand their self-righteous attitudes and tell it like it is.

2

I don't speak to my family anymore. I do have friends that are religious but they don't push their beliefs on me. They accept that we can have different beliefs and we still get along fine. They are good human beings and we have things in common besides religion. I don't condemn anyone for their beliefs. I can find enough in common with other humans and don't engage in debates about religion.

1

Retain a relationship with eyes wide open. If you're strong in your own beliefs, no one can threaten you. On the other hand, if you can't accept people for who they are (religious or not), why relate at all?

Pook Level 5 June 1, 2018
1

My family knows my beliefs. We have agreed to disagree. We generally don't discuss religion for the same reason we don't discuss politics. We are pretty much on opposite sides of the spectrum.

1

I struggle with this. My daughter's mother-in-law is very pushy about it. She's always bringing up the Bible, every chance she gets. I have told her on many occasions that I don't believe the way she does and never will, so let's not talk about it. She always looks astounded that I would say that. I never push my beliefs down her throat. I'm tired of having to ward off all these attempts to save my soul. As she's part of the family, I can't just avoid her, even though I would like to most of the time. She has said the most ignorant things about Darwinism and evolution that make me want to scream!

Next time she brings up the bible start either burbing or farting. They shut up and leave.

1

I got some, lived with one, (loved) many, I let them be. Don't try to convert, they know they can not convert me. Boundaries that make us live a civil life. Never been a problem so far. Nobody in my existence can say about me... "I remember when he was religious". I never was and that makes it easier I think.

1

When we get together all my four siblings talk pretty much only about the religion we grew up in even though they know I left. They talk as if I never left. No one ever asks what I believe. I love them but I find this completely insensitive. So I don't really like the little sibling reunions and try to avoid them. I go when I must, but say very little of course. I wait for the day when one them asks what I believe. They never have.

1

Yeah It can be very hard to deal with however I just basically tell people that I respect their opinions on religion and I support them and their right to believe what they want but I tell them that I expect the same in return and I don't want their religion pressed upon me or my children of course everybody thinks I'm going to hell which of course me being an atheist doesn't believe in such things it really doesn't bother me and personally if people don't want to talk to me whether it be family friends co-workers or whatever just because I don't believe in some character in a book then they aren't worth my time anyways and I'd rather be by myself in the first place

1

I avoid talking about religion with the religious.

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